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QNEM and Nano’s on board (Fly Your Thesis Project)


Experimental determination of nanofluid’s thermal diffusivity under microgravity conditions

Start/End dates

October 2009 – September 2011


“Nanofluids” are suspensions of nanometre sized particles in conventional liquids. Usually, the particles are made of metal or metal oxides, of size of a few nm to 200 nm, and the fluid is water, ethylene glycol or silicon oils. Over the last decades, those fluids sparked excitement as well as controversy. The purpose of this interest lies in their potential to improve significantly the performances of heat transfer devices. According to some reports, the presence of a mere few particles remarkably increases the effective thermal conductivity of the fluid. However the experimental data are still relatively few and the results obtained using different experimental techniques are often contradictory. Furthermore, the latest theoretical models do not allow so far to include this feature. We  believe that some of the inconsistencies in the results obtained on ground could be related to disturbance of the experiments by gravity.

The present study aims to investigate the thermal diffusivity of nanofluids under micro-gravity conditions. A transient optical technique is implemented to measure the diffusivity in several samples of different particles concentrations. This technique provides a very precise quantitative measurement. It also allows to visualize the temperature field within the liquid, which may allow to better understand the heat transfer mechanisms in nanofluids.The different gravity steps of the parabolas are used to evaluate the influence of gravity on the quality of the results.

Who is working on this project ?


  • Jaumain Marc (BEAMS Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)
  • Leo Emmanuela (University Federico II, Naples, Italy)

Flight Opportunities

  • Parabolic flight campaign, March 2011.




Dear all

We would like to invite you for the seminar to-morrow, Thursday  19 May  at 15:00

Congrès HoloPhi II

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