Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Chemical Engineering

Committee Chair

Willing, Gerold A.

Author's Keywords

Nanofluid enhancement


Nanofluids; Mineral oils


There are two purposes of this research, to design and build a heat transfer cell that could accurately calculate heat transport coefficients of various fluids and to determine if the increased heat transfer capabilities of nanofluids can be applied to cooling transformers by using the heat transfer cell to measure the enhancement. The design and construction of a heat transfer cell that could accurately calculate heat transport coefficients of various fluids was successful. A heat transfer cell was built and tested on several fluids to confirm the accuracy of the design and the experiments. Three fluids were successfully tested overall for their thermal conductivity values, and one fluid was tested for its convection coefficients in the heat transfer cells. Values for the thermal conductivity and the convection coefficients were obtained during this experiment that agreed with commonly accepted values for the testing fluids. The average value for the thermal conductivities for mineral oil of the first design in the ¼” diameter cell is 0.15 w/m2c, and agrees well with the commonly accepted values of mineral oils. The value commonly accepted value of thermal conductivity for mineral oil is 0.14 w/m2c at 25°C, the first heat transfer cell yielded a thermal conductivity value of approximately 0.16 w/m2c at roughly 25C. The heat transfer cell was also used to calculated convection coefficients of mineral oil, and values were obtained within the limits for natural convection according to Incropera, contributing more to the validity of the results from this heat transfer cell. A second heat transfer cell was designed to determine the thermal conductivities of more thermally sensitive fluids, offering a wider range of materials that can be tested. The second design places the thermocouples directly at their assumed position of the wire and the wall temperatures for calculation purposes, yielding more accurate results and can therefore more accurately calculate the thermal conductivities of various fluids. The second design calculated a thermal conductivity of water to be 0.59 w/m2c, while the commonly accepted value is 0.58 w/m2c, which is well within a tolerable range of error to accept this value as accurate at the experimental conditions. This heat transfer cell also calculated the thermal conductivity value for AMSOIL synthetic motor oil to be 0.12 w/m2c and 0.10 w/m2c for mineral oil, both of these values are within the expected ranges of thermal conductivity for oils. The second goal of applying the heat transfer enhancement properties of a nanofluid to a transformer cooling application proved to be futile for Copper Oxide(40nm) and Carbon coated Copper nanoparticles(25nm) in mineral oil. All of the attempted nanofluids fell out of suspension within a timeframe of a day, and in a transformer cell where natural convection is the only means of flow available that contributes to keeping the nanoparticles suspended, there is not enough flow to keep the nanoparticles from falling out of suspension. That is why unless the transformer industry moves towards another coolant besides mineral oil, heat transfer enhancement using Copper Oxide (40nm) or Carbon Coated nanoparticles (25nm) in a mineral oil nanofluid is not a viable option.