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Chemistry: Giant hyperthermal effect in Mg-doped Fe3O4 - Friday, 09 February 2018 11:36
Biology: Nanodiamonds for antibacterial implants - Monday, 02 November 2015 21:41
Ecology: Nano-products risks overexaggerated - Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:02

colortubesNanodiamonds for thermal fluids

Scientists of Vanderbilt University in Nashville (USA) could increase the thermal conductivity of both ethylene glycol (EG) and mineral oil by adding a small amount of nanodiamonds. Moreover, the several-fold increase compared to the predicted from Maxwell equation was experimentally evidenced. So, 12% increase of thermal conductivity in EG and 11% increase in oil could be achieved by adding 0.9% and 1.9% of nanodiamonds respectively. This finding was published recently in the ACS Nano (DOI 10.1021/nn305664x).

"Heat-transfer fluids, such as water, mineral oil, and ethylene glycol, serve important functions in many thermal transport applications but suffer from low thermal conductivity. Efficiencies of fluid thermal systems would be enhanced substantially if higher thermal conductivities of working fluids can be achieved." says Prof. Lukehart from the University's Chemical Dept. Incorporation of small solid materials of high thermal conductivity into base liquids can improve thermal conductivity of base liquids.


Diamond is known to be the best thermal conductor outperforming copper, silver, aluminum and other traditional materials by many hundred per cents. However, use of micron-sized diamonds in thermal fluids would present many drawbacks such as rapid sedimentation, abrasion and clogging. Modern methods allow manufacturing far smaller particles, thus overcoming these limitations. So, detonation of military TNT/RDX mixtures in a controlled manner allow to produce nanodiamond particles of just few nanometers in size. Such particles possess all physical properties of bulk diamonds, while having the dimensions of small protein molecules.

First, nanodiamond particles had to be well dispersed in fluid, then modified by the chemical anchoring of ligands compatible with either EG or mineral oil. To a great amusement of the authors, the measurement results have outperformed their best expectations. The thermal conductivity grew faster with the increase of nanoparticles content, than predicted by the theory. Authors predict, that even the better results can be achieved by a precise tuning of carrier fluid and the covalently attached ligands on the nanodiamonds.

Nanojam (C) 2013

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