Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


NanoHex Report Summary

Project reference: 228882
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary - NANOHEX (Enhanced Nano-fluid Heat Exchange)

Project context and objectives:

During the first year of the HENIX project, the public facing brand name for the project was established as - NANONEX. The new brand name better reflects the purpose and objectives of the project. NANONEX will advance the state-of-the-art by translating the nanotechnology-based research results into the development of a high-performance coolant for adoption by industry, with enhanced thermal conductivity and heat capabilities not presently accessible. NANONEX will:

- translate promising laboratory based nanotechnology research results into pilot-lines for the production of nanofluid coolants for industrial heat management applications;
- optimise the formulation of nanofluid coolants through the control of the synthesis process and knowledge of the underlying physico-chemical sciences;
- deliver energy savings, and safe and reliable exploitation of nanofluid coolants in cooling of electronics, primarily targeting data centres and power electronics;
- position European industry ahead of competitors in North America and Asia by capitalising on advances in nanoparticle science and dispersion technology.

The six technological aims of the project in period 2 remain:

Aim 1: Translation of promising research results into the formulation of highly reliable nanofluid coolants and the development of novel cooling systems harnessing the benefits offered by NANONEX nanofluids.
Aim 2: Investigate and significantly advance the scientific understanding of the thermal properties and behavior of nanofluids and develop an accurate analytical model to simulate and predict heat transfer of the formulated NANONEX nanofluid coolants.
Aim 3: Design, development and evaluation of two small-scale pilot-lines for the manufacture of NANONEX nanofluid coolants, using single-stage wet chemical and two-stage production strategies.
Aim 4: Design, development and benchmarking of two demonstrators for data centre and power electronics cooling using NANONEX nanofluid coolants and novel heat management and cooling systems.
Aim 5: Establish scale-up models for the translation of the two demonstrator cooling systems and both the single-stage and two-stage nanofluid production pilot-lines into large-scale production lines.
Aim 6: Establish the economic viability of NANONEX nanofluid coolants across the full value-chain of production, use, disposal and recycling in both data centre cooling and power electronics for traction application.

Project results:

The first year of NANONEX has been a successful one during which the consortium have started to demonstrate obtain and observe notable thermal enhancement for both static thermal conductivity and more importantly for cooling systems under convective heat transfer conditions.

During the start of period 2, a videocast 'Discovering nanofluids' was completed for NANOHEX project and published by the consortium. It is accessible on project website and the YouTube:

During the first year, a campaign of testing was started that finished in April 2010 in period 2. The campaign of thermal testing was comprised of measuring a number of properties including:

- effective thermal conductivity of the nanofluid;
- heat transfer co-efficient in straight pipes and micro-channel cold plates;
- viscosity of the resulting nanofluid;
- particle size, both primary and hydrodynamic particle seize;
- erosion and corrosion testing to assess any adverse physical damage that dispersed nanoparticles may impart of heat management equipment.

Tests were performed on a range of nanofluids prepared by the consortium and a number sourced from suppliers. Nanofluids tested included TiO2, Al2O3, ZrO2, Ag, CeO2, carbon nanotubes (CNT), SiC, SiO2, iron oxides and industrial diamond. The consortium has narrowed the nanofluids down to those comprised of TiO2, Al2O3, CeO2, Ag and SiC. In addition, a thermal testing rig has been established for rapidly screening nanofluids prepared from other nanomaterials.

During period 2, work hence commenced on more detailed testing and characterisation of nanofluids based on TiO2, Al2O3, CeO2, Ag and SiC in order to establish the thermal performance of nanofluids their dependency on parameters that can be controlled such as particle size, concentration, flow regime, mass flow rate and particle shape.

Through the consortium's research work and interaction with other researchers in the field a number of technological challenges have been identified and confirmed. These require addressing to enable adoption of thermal nanofluid. On summary they are:

- primary particle size, particle size distribution, hydrodynamic particle size and temperature influence thermal performance;
- increase in viscosity on the addition of nanoparticles, hence the increase in associated pressure drop and pumping power;
- surface modifiers capping nanoparticles are likely to be increasing the heat transfer resistance at the particle / liquid interface and hence impeding thermal performance;
- thermal nanofluids need to comprise of well dispersed nanoparticles as dispersion instability adversely impacts thermal performance;
- metals and oxide nanoparticles have a specific heat capacity that is less than water and hence the resulting nanofluid has a slightly reduced specific heat capacity compared to the base carrier liquid;
- the distribution of nanoparticles in a tube cross section may not be even due to particle migration phenomenon known as the Segre-Silberberg annulus shown below.

Based in the results nanofluids tested, by the consortium, show thermal enhancement in heat transfer co-efficient from little as 1 % to near to 20 %. Some tests have shown higher enhancement, how the results are often difficult to repeat. It is anticipated that the consortium will be able to produce a nanofluid that can yield thermal performance enhancement of 10 % to 25 % with optimisation.

Potential impact:

The consortium has in period 1 and 2 started to investigate potential application areas for thermal nanofluid through literature research and interaction with industrial stakeholders. Potential application areas include:

a. cooling of electronics
b. power electronics in traction
c. power electronics in renewable power plants and smart grids arena
d. geothermal and ground heat extraction fluids
e. hydrogen production processes
f. cooling of fuel cells in applications such as hydrogen fuel cell electric cars and off-grid power
g. steel quenching and annealing
h. solar water heating
i. electric engines in vehicles
j. transformers
k. nuclear reactors
l. heat pipes
m. industrial heat exchangers
n. cooling and heating in buildings
o. cameras and displays
p. industrial chillers
q. domestic refrigerators
r. coolant in machining
s. diesel electric generators
t. diesel combustion
u. boiler flue gas temperature reduction
v. medical applications
w. antibacterial.

Project website:

Related information


MULLEN, David (Senior R&D Engineer)
Tel.: +44-167-0859500
Fax: +44-167-0859529
Record Number: 55592 / Last updated on: 2013-01-18
Information source: SESAM
Collaboration sought: N/A