A theoretical answer to the controversial issue on the anomalous convective heat transfer in nanofluids has been provided, exploiting the Buongiorno model for convective heat transfer in nanofluids with modifications to fully account for the effects of nanoparticle volume fraction distributions on the continuity, momentum, and energy equations. A set of exact solutions have been obtained for hydrodynamically and thermally fully developed laminar nanofluid flows in channels and tubes, subject to constant heat flux. From the solutions, it has been concluded that the anomalous heat transfer rate, exceeding the rate expected from the increase in thermal conductivity, is possible in such cases as titania–water nanofluids in a channel, alumina–water nanofluids in a tube and also titania–water nanofluids in a tube. Moreover, the maximum Nusselt number based on the bulk mean nanofluid thermal conductivity is captured when the ratio of Brownian and thermophoretic diffusivities is around 0.5, which can be exploited for designing nanoparticles for high-energy carriers.

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