Investigation of heat capacity and viscosity enhancements of binary carbonate salt mixture with SiO2 nanoparticles

Baha El Far, Syed Muhammad Mujtaba Rizvi, Yousof Nayfeh, Donghyun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A binary carbonate salt mixture (Li2CO3-K2CO3 at 62:38 molar ratio) was doped with SiO2 spherical nanoparticles at 1% concentration by weight. A differential calorimeter and a rheometer were used to study the thermal and rheological characteristics of the binary carbonate salt mixture & its nanofluids mixed with SiO2 nanoparticles. The results showed that the viscosity was enhanced by 34.0–94.4% and the heat capacity was enhanced by 19%. Furthermore, the nanofluids showed significant non-Newtonian behavior (shear-thinning). Nanofluids are known to show non-Newtonian behavior when nanoparticles have a high aspect ratio (e.g., rod-like structure, nanotube, etc.) at high concentrations. Literature study showed salt mixture can be micro-segregated near a nanoparticle. The segregated salts can crystallize on the nanoparticle surface and grow further to form dendritic nanostructures. To verify the nanostructural change, we added a minute concentration of hydroxide (0.03 wt.%) into a nanofluid to disrupt the nanostructural change and measured their properties as reported in the literature. The result showed that the heat capacity enhancement decreased from 19% to 9%. Also, the viscosity decreased from 34.0% to 8.4% (at the highest shear rate) and 94.4% to 62.8% (at the lowest shear rate), respectively. Moreover, the theoretical viscosity model predicted well at the highest shear rate (250/s), where the effect of the nanostructural change is minimal, while it failed to predict the viscosity enhancement at a low shear rate, where the nanostructural change is expected to dominate the flow. Our experimental results support that the dendritic salt nanostructures are primarily responsible for increasing both heat capacity and the shear-thinning behavior of molten salt nanofluids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119789
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Heat capacity
  • Molten salt
  • Nanofluid
  • Shear-thinning
  • Viscosity


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of heat capacity and viscosity enhancements of binary carbonate salt mixture with SiO2 nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this