International Scientific Journal


Laminar natural convection of Al2O3 + H2O nanofluids inside square cavities differentially heated at sides is studied numerically. A computational code based on the SIMPLE-C algorithm is used for the solution of the system of the mass, momentum and energy transfer governing equations. Assuming that the nanofluid behaves like a single-phase fluid, these equations are the same as those valid for a pure fluid, provided that the thermophysical properties appearing in them are the nanofluid effective properties. The thermal conductivity and dynamic viscosity of the nanofluid are calculated by means of a couple of empirical equations based on a wide variety of experimental data reported in the literature. The other effective properties are evaluated by the conventional mixing theory. Simulations are performed for different values of the nanoparticle volume fraction in the range 0-0.06, the diameter of the suspended nanoparticles in the range 25-100 nm, the temperature of the cooled sidewall in the range 293-313 K, the temperature of the heated sidewall in the range 298-343 K, and the Rayleigh number of the base fluid in the range 103-107. All computations are executed in the hypothesis of temperature-dependent effective properties. The main result obtained is the existence of an optimal particle loading for maximum heat transfer, that is found to increase as the size of the suspended nanoparticles is decreased, and the nanofluid average temperature is increased.
PAPER REVISED: 2012-01-31
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2012-05-02
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