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Technology Commercialization and Partnerships Division

Heat Transfer Fluids Containing Nanoparticles (IN-08-066)

Provides substantial improvement in heat transfer
Heat transfer efficiency for 50/50 ethylene glycol/water at various particle concentrations and temperatures. Experimentally mea

The Invention

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have created a stable, non-reactive nanofluid that exhibits enhanced heat-transfer properties with only a minimal increase in pumping power required relative to the base-heat transfer fluid. 

Nanofluids—liquid mixtures with a small concentration of nanoparticles in suspension—have unique properties that make them potentially useful for heat transfer. The study of nanofluid heat transfer is a relatively new area of scientific exploration, and although industrial applications for nanofluid technology are still in their infancy, some mixtures have been shown to substantially increase the heat-transfer characteristics of the nanofluid over the base liquid. 

Argonne’s nanofluid is composed of ceramic nanoparticles suspended in a base-heat-transfer fluid made up of water and water/ethylene glycol mixtures. Ceramic nanoparticles are not susceptible to surface oxidation, and enjoy significantly better chemical stability over longer periods of time than metals. Although ceramics generally have low thermal conductivity, some ceramics have properties that make them attractive candidates for use in nanofluids for commercial and industrial heat-transfer applications. 

Benefits 

  • More efficient cooling systems 
  • Higher productivity 
  • Energy savings

Applications and Industries 

  • Heat exchangers for engines, fuel cells, cooling towers and more 
  • Cooling of power and microelectronics 
  • Refrigeration and other cooling systems 
  • Nuclear reactors 
  • Aerospace 
  • Defense 
  • Grinding and machining

Developmental Stage 

Proof of concept