We describe an optical beam deflection technique for measurements of the thermal diffusivity of fluid mixtures and suspensions of nanoparticles with a precision of better than 1%. Our approach is tested using the thermal conductivity of ethanol-water mixtures; in nearly pure ethanol, the increase in thermal conductivity with water concentration is a factor of 2 larger than predicted by effective medium theory. Solutions of C60 - C70 fullerenes in toluene and suspensions of alkanethiolate-protected Au nanoparticles were measured to maximum volume fractions of 0.6% and 0.35 vol %, respectively. We do not observe anomalous enhancements of the thermal conductivity that have been reported in previous studies of nanofluids; the largest increase in thermal conductivity we have observed is 1.3%±0.8% for 4 nm diam Au particles suspended in ethanol.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy