This thesis studies the effects of the base fluid, particle type/size, and volumetric concentration on the thermal conductivity of Alumina and Silica nanofluids. The effects of base fluid were observed by preparing samples using ethylene glycol (EG), water, and mixtures of EG/water as the base fluid and Al2O3 (10 nm) nanoparticles. The particles type/size and volumetric concentration effects were tested by preparing samples of nanofluids using Al2O3 (10nm), Al2O3 (150nm), SiO2 (15 nm), and SiO2 (80 nm) nanoparticles and ionized water as base fluid at different volumetric concentrations. All samples were mixed using a sonicator for 30 minutes and a water circulator to maintain the sample at room temperature. The thermal conductivity was measured using a Thermtest Transient Plane Source TPS 500S. The effects of gravity, Brownian motion and thermophoresis were also studied. EG produced the highest thermal conductivity enhancement out of all base fluids tested. Smaller particle size produced a higher enhancement of thermal conductivity, while the volumetric concentration did not have a significant effect in the thermal conductivity enhancement. Finally, gravity, Brownian diffusion and thermophoresis effects played a role in the total enhancement of the thermal conductivity. The nanoparticles were observed to settle rapidly after sonication suggesting gravity effects may play a significant role.


Patrick Tebbe

First Committee Member

Aaron Budge

Second Committee Member

Sungwon Kim

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Civil Engineering


Science, Engineering and Technology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.