This project partially supports the International Nanofluid Properties Benchmark Exercise (INPBE), culminating in a two-day workshop which will be held in the continental U.S. in the September - November, 2008, time frame. The purpose of this workshop and associated 'round-robin' testing is to reduce the great uncertainties surrounding the thermophysical properties of nanoscale colloidal solutions, popularly termed 'nanofluids.' Within NSF, funding is provided by both the Thermal Transport Processes (TTP) Program and the Particulate & Multiphase Processes (PMP) Program.
With respect to the intellectual merit, progress in developing nanofluids for thermal and other applications is hindered by a lack of fundamental understanding of their thermophysical properties. A number of inconsistent experimental reports have plagued the literature, making it difficult to formulate definitive models to describe thermal transport in nanofluids. This collaborative workshop proposal addresses these outstanding issues by proposing that a relatively large number of interested laboratories around the world measure the thermal conductivity of nominally identical nanofluid samples, prepared from a single batch by the same manufacturer. Afterwards, representatives from the participating laboratories will meet in a two-day workshop to discuss their results and to plan future activities.
The broader impacts include partial support for a number of women and minority researchers to participate in this exercise, and to attend the two-day workshop. Improved fundamental understanding of nanofluids? transport properties may lead to their application in a number of thermal systems, resulting in improved efficiencies and reduced energy consumption. Since a number of the participating laboratories are located outside the US, this project will also serve to enhance international collaboration.