Correct interpretation of nanofluid convective heat transfer

M. H. Buschmann*, R. Azizian, T. Kempe, J. E. Juliá, R. Martínez-Cuenca, B. Sundén, Zan Wu, A. Seppälä, T. Ala-Nissila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Engineers and scientist have a long tradition in trying to improve the thermophysical properties of convective heat carriers such as water and transformer oil. Technological developments of the last decades allow the dispersion of particle of sizes ranging between 10 and 100 nm in these liquids. In a large number of recent studies the resulting nanofluids have been reported to display anomalously high increase of convective heat transfer. The present study compiles experiments from five independent research teams investigating convective heat transfer in nanofluid flow in pipes, pipe with inserted twisted tape, annular counter flow heat exchanger, and coil and plate heat exchangers. The results of all these experiments unequivocally confirm that Newtonian nanofluid flow can be consistently characterized by employing Nusselt number correlations obtained for single-phase heat transfer liquids such as water when the correct thermophysical properties of the nanofluid are utilized. It is also shown that the heat transfer enhancement provided by nanofluids equals the increase in the thermal conductivity of the nanofluid as compared to the base fluid independent of the nanoparticle concentration or material. These results demonstrate that no anomalous phenomena are involved in thermal conduction and forced convection based heat transfer of nanofluids. The experiments are theoretically supported by a fundamental similarity analysis of nanoparticle motion in nanofluid flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-531
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Thermal Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Coil heat exchanger
  • Convective heat transfer
  • Counterflow heat exchanger
  • Newtonian nanofluids
  • Pipe
  • Plate heat exchanger
  • Twisted-tape


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