Nanofluids Research: Key Issues
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China
Nanoscale Research Letters 2010, 5:1241-1252 doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9638-6Published: 22 May 2010
Nanofluids are a new class of fluids engineered by dispersing nanometer-size structures (particles, fibers, tubes, droplets) in base fluids. The very essence of nanofluids research and development is to enhance fluid macroscopic and megascale properties such as thermal conductivity through manipulating microscopic physics (structures, properties and activities). Therefore, the success of nanofluid technology depends very much on how well we can address issues like effective means of microscale manipulation, interplays among physics at different scales and optimization of microscale physics for the optimal megascale properties. In this work, we take heat-conduction nanofluids as examples to review methodologies available to effectively tackle these key but difficult problems and identify the future research needs as well. The reviewed techniques include nanofluids synthesis through liquid-phase chemical reactions in continuous-flow microfluidic microreactors, scaling-up by the volume averaging and constructal design with the constructal theory. The identified areas of future research contain microfluidic nanofluids, thermal waves and constructal nanofluids.