Effect of thermal-electric cross coupling on heat transport in nanofluids

Zhanxiao Kang, Liqiu Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Nanofluids have an enhanced thermal conductivity compared with their base fluid. Although many mechanisms have been proposed, few of them could give a satisfactory explanation of experimental data. In this study, a mechanism of heat transport enhancement is proposed based on the cross coupling of thermal and electric transports in nanofluids. Nanoparticles are viewed as large molecules which have thermal motion together with the molecules of the base fluid. As the nanoparticles have surface charges, the motion of nanoparticles in the high-temperature region will generate a relatively strong varying electric field through which the motion will be transported to other nanoparticles, leading to a simultaneous temperature rise of low-temperature nanoparticles. The local base fluid will thus be heated up by these nanoparticles through molecular collision. Every nanoparticle could, therefore, be considered as an internal heat source, thereby enhancing the equivalent thermal conductivity significantly. This mechanism qualitatively agrees with many experimental data and is thus of significance in designing and applying nanofluids.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Electric field
  • Heat transport enhancement
  • Nanofluids
  • Thermal motion
  • Thermal-electric cross coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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