The use of nanoparticles to improve the thermal properties of low thermal conductivity phase change materials is of significant interest. However, the addition of nanoparticles to a base fluid is known to result in an increase in viscosity. An increase in viscosity can suppress convective currents, reducing overall heat transfer thus it necessary to quantify the impact of nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of a PCM.
In this work nanoparticle enhanced phase change mateirals are synthesized using paraffin and three different types of nanoparticles: exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets (xGNP), multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and herringbone graphite nanofibers (HGNF). The particles are loaded at rates between 0.0024wt% to 0.1wt%. The viscosity is analyzed at temperatures between 60 and 100°C. The influence of temperature, nanoparticle type and nanoparticle loading level on viscosity are presented and discussed.
The results show that for xGNP and HGNF within the operating condition studied here that there is no impact of the nanoparticle addition on the viscosity of the base material. However, the addition of MWCNT is found to increase the viscosity of the base fluid with the impact increasing with loading level.