Nanofluids are suspensions or colloids produced by dispersing nanoparticles in base fluids like water, oil or organic fluids, so as to improve their thermo-physical properties. Investigations reported in recent times have shown that the addition of nanoparticles significantly influence the thermophysical properties, such as the thermal conductivity, viscosity, specific heat and density of base fluids. The convective heat transfer coefficient also has shown anomalous variations, compared to those encountered in the base fluids. By careful selection of the parameters such as the concentration and the particle size, it has been possible to produce nanofluids with various properties engineered depending on the requirement. A mineral oil–boron nitride nanofluid system, where an increased thermal conductivity and a reduced electrical conductivity has been observed, is investigated in the present work to evaluate its heat transfer performance under natural convection. The modified mineral oil is produced by chemically dispersing boron nitride nanoparticles utilizing a one step method to obtain a stable suspension. The mineral oil based nanofluid is investigated under transient free convection heat transfer, by observing the temperature-time response of a lumped parameter system. The experimental study is used to estimate the time-dependent convective heat transfer coefficient. Comparisons are made with the base fluid, so that the enhancement in the heat transfer coefficient under natural convection situation can be estimated.

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