Convective heat transfer for water-based alumina nanofluids in a single 1.02-mm tube

W. Y. Lai, S. Vinod, Patrick Phelan, Ravi Prasher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Nanofluids are colloidal solutions, which contain a small volume fraction of suspended submicron particles or fibers in heat transfer liquids such as water or glycol mixtures. Compared with the base fluid, numerous experiments have generally indicated an increase in effective thermal conductivity and a strong temperature dependence of the static effective thermal conductivity. However, in practical applications, a heat conduction mechanism may not be sufficient for cooling high heat dissipation devices such as microelectronics or powerful optical equipment. Thus, thermal performance under convective heat transfer conditions becomes of primary interest. We report here the heat transfer coefficient h in both developing and fully developed regions by using water-based alumina nanofluids. Our experimental test section consists of a single 1.02-mm diameter stainless steel tube, which is electrically heated to provide a constant wall heat flux. Both pressure drop and temperature differences are measured, but mostly here we report our h measurements under laminar flow conditions. An extensive characterization of the nanofluid samples, including pH, electrical conductivity, particle sizing, and zeta potential, is also documented. The measured h values for nanofluids are generally higher than those for pure water. In the developing region, this can be at least partially explained by Pr number effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Forced convection
  • Laminar flow
  • Nanofluid
  • Nanofluid characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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