Nanofluid two-phase flow and thermal physics: A new research frontier of nanotechnology and its challenges

Lixin Cheng, Enio P. Bandarra Filho, John R. Thome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Nanofluids are a new class of fluids engineered by dispersing nanometer-size solid particles in base fluids. As a new research frontier, nanofluid two-phase flow and thermal physics have the potential to improve heat transfer and energy efficiency in thermal management systems for many applications, such as microelectronics, power electronics, transportation, nuclear engineering, heat pipes, refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems. So far, the study of nanofluid two-phase flow and thermal physics is still in its infancy. This field of research provides many opportunities to study new frontiers but also poses great challenges. To summarize the current status of research in this newly developing interdisciplinary field and to identify the future research needs as well, this paper focuses on presenting a comprehensive review of nucleate pool boiling, flow boiling, critical heat flux, condensation and two-phase flow of nanofluids. Even for the limited studies done so far, there are some controversies. Conclusions and contradictions on the available nanofluid studies on physical properties, two-phase flow, heat transfer and critical heat flux(CHF) are presented. Based on a comprehensive analysis, it has been realized that the physical properties of nanofluids such as surface tension, liquid thermal conductivity, viscosity and density have significant effects on the nanofluid two-phase flow and heat transfer characteristics but the lack of the accurate knowledge of these physical properties has greatly limited the study in this interdisciplinary field. Therefore, effort should be made to contribute to the physical property database of nanofluids as a first priority. Secondly, in particular, research on nanofluid two-phase flow and heat transfer in microchannels should be emphasized in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3315-3332
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • nanofluids
  • two-phase flow
  • boiling
  • heat transfer
  • flow patterns
  • critical heat flux
  • pressure drop
  • microchannel


Dive into the research topics of 'Nanofluid two-phase flow and thermal physics: A new research frontier of nanotechnology and its challenges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this