Using molecular dynamics simulations, an analysis of the thermal conductivity enhancement of a copper/argon nanofluid is performed. First, verification of an increase of as much as ∼30% in the thermal conductivity of the theoretical nanofluid over the corresponding base fluid, due to increasing nanoparticle concentration, is presented. Thermal energy transport is then decomposed into potential, kinetic, and virial components, based on the Green-Kubo autocorrelation function used to calculate thermal conductivity from the microscopic properties of the system. Analysis of these components showed that as the concentration of the nanoparticle increases, the energy transported through the system, due to collisions within the fluid, decreases by as much as 80%. Additionally, the nanofluid system increasingly displays characteristics of an amorphous-like material with increasing concentration. The decrease in energy exchange, due to collisions, suggests another physical mechanism is present for thermal energy transport. Therefore, it is proposed that thermal diffusion is the physical mechanism that more significantly affects thermal energy transport within a nanofluid than had been previously suggested.

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