Thermal conductivity of nanoparticle suspensions

Shawn A. Putnam, David G. Cahill, Paul V. Braun, Zhenbin Ge, Robert G. Shimmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084308
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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