Enhanced specific heat of silica nanofluid

Donghyun Shin, Debjyoti Banerjee

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214 Scopus citations


Silica nanoparticles (1% by weight) were dispersed in a eutectic of lithium carbonate and potassium carbonate (62:38 ratio) to obtain high temperature nanofluids. A differential scanning calorimeter instrument was used to measure the specific heat of the neat molten salt eutectic and after addition of nanoparticles. The specific heat of the nanofluid was enhanced by 19-24%. The measurement uncertainty for the specific heat values in the experiments is estimated to be in the range of 1-5%. These experimental data contradict earlier experimental results reported in the literature. (Notably, the stability of the nanofluid samples was not verified in these studies.) In the present study, the dispersion and stability of the nanoparticles were confirmed by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Percolation networks were observed in the SEM image of the nanofluid. Furthermore, no agglomeration of the nanoparticles was observed, as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The observed enhancements are suggested to be due to the high specific surface energies that are associated with the high surface area of the nanoparticles per unit volume (or per unit mass).

Original languageEnglish
Article number024501
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • lithium carbonate
  • molten salt
  • nanofluid
  • nanoparticle
  • phase change material
  • potassium carbonate
  • solar energy
  • specific heat
  • thermal energy storage


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