The Science of Nanofluids

Cool-X: The First Nanofluid Oil Additive

HD-Gear-Oil-200x200
Cool-X® is the first nanofluid oil additive .

Cool-X is a colloidal dispersion of carbon nanoparticles which have been proven to increase thermal conductivity by up to 20%. Dr. Jamil Khan of the Engineering Department of the University of S Carolina did a study that showed that oil with Cool-X had higher thermal conductivity compared to the base oil, and that the difference increased with temperature, from 2% at room temperature to 8% at 200°F.

Oil is a natural insulator, and improved thermal conductivity has significant benefits for oil:

  • It warms up and cools down faster
  • It improves cooling system efficiency, moving heat away from its source more quickly
  • It prevents hot spots from building up, where oil oxidizes faster and metal is subject to cavitation, corrosion, and warping
  • Overall oil temperatures are lower, as the cooling system reaches a lower equilibrium temperature and flatter temperature gradients.

Cool-X has been shown to lower oil operating temperatures in motors and gearboxes by 10°-40°F, depending on load, cooling system, and ambient conditions.

Nanofluids: Improved Heat Transfer and Thermal Conductivity

Thermal Conductivity of Cool-X in Rotella

Thermal Conductivity of Cool-X in Rotella

 Starting about 2002, scientists started mixing nanofluids combining liquids, such as water and oils, with various nanoparticles and reporting unusual results. Classic fluid dynamic theory, as developed by Maxwell, suggests that the thermal properties of liquids would only be slightly changed by mixing solids, and that it would be proportional to the amount of solids in the colloidal mixture. But researchers were reporting substantially higher rates of thermal conductivity, of 5%, 10%, even 40% higher than anticipated by classical theory, even at solids concentrations <0.1%. These anomolous results set off a boomlet of scientific papers investigating the phenomena, see here and here and here for examples. Cool-X is such a nanofluid. <more>

Carbon Nanoparticles

The structure of a nanodiamond.

The structure of a nanodiamond.

 Cool-X is a nanofluid made with carbon nanoparticles in various base oils. The nanoparticles are a formulation including nanodiamonds, graphene, and carbon onions manufactured through a proprietary process of surface treatments, milling, and sonification designed to create very small (<10 nm) particles with the desired surface chemistry to prevent agglomeration, maximize heat transfer, reduce friction, and remain thermally and chemically stable in a colloidal suspension. <more>

What is a Nanofluid?

what-is-a-nanofluid
 A Nanofluid is a fluid containing nanoparticles, that is, particles of solids with a dimension measured in nanometers, 1/1000 of a micron or roughly one ten thousandth of the width of a human hair. These particles are carried by the fluid in a suspension, typically called a colloidal dispersion.  Nanofluids have been shown to have higher heat transfer rates and thermal conductivity, even at very low solid concentrations (<1%). The nanoparticles can also effect viscosity, particularly at higher concentrations.

Starting about ten years ago, scientists started mixing nanofluids combining water and oils with various nanoparticles, and reporting unusual results. Classic fluid dynamic theory, as developed by Maxwell, suggests that the thermal properties of liquids would only be slightly changed by mixing solids, and that it would be proportional to the amount of solids in the colloidal mixture. But researchers were reporting substantially higher rates of thermal conductivity, of 5%, 10%, even 40% higher than anticipated by classical theory. This set off a boomlet of scientific papers investigating the phenomena, see here and here and here for examples.

Most of the research was done using water and water glycol mixes, as the researchers were interested in improving the performance of coolants. Most of the nanoparticles used were the cheapest and most commercially readily available materials, such as nanoparticles of aluminum oxides, silicon oxides, and carbon nanotubes. These particles were tested at concentrations of 1-2% by weight in the nanofluid, as the scientists wanted the maximum results, and this was the limit of what they could keep in suspension.

Other researchers reported similar changes in thermal conductivity despite using very low concentrations (as little as 100 ppm) of nanoparticles. These effects are totally at variance with the classic Maxwell theory, and are not well understood in terms of their mechanism. The Cool-X nanofluid technology, based on proprietary nanocarbon particles, are added to base oils at these low concentrations, which avoid changing the viscosity or rheology of the oils, and also reduce the cost to manufacture the additive, keeping it affordable.

Knowledgebase

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