Nanofluid is the name conceived to describe a fluid in which nanometer-sized particles are suspended. Nanofluids consisting of such particles suspended in liquids (typically conventional heat transfer liquids) have been shown to enhance the thermal performance of the base liquids.




Transmittance spectra of water(A) and   glycol(G) -based nanofluids with the same SWCNH concentrations (0.005 g/L for   G1 and A1 and 0.05 g/L for G4 and A4). Spectra of the pure base fluids are   shown for comparison (G0 and A0).


Nanofluids as direct solar absorbers

The optical and thermal properties of nanofluids consisting in aqueous suspensions of single wall carbon nanohorns are investigated in depth because of their interesting characteristics, in view of their use as sunlight absorber fluids in a solar device. The measured spectral transmission showed that SWCNHs play a significant role in improving the photonic properties of the fluid, leading to a significant increase of the light extinction level even at very low concentrations (see below for the transmittance spectra with different concentration from A1-0.001 g/l to A7-0.050 g/l). Measured extinction coefficients allowed calculating the stored solar energy fraction, as a function of the penetration depth within the nanofluid for the different SWCNH concentrations, and the stored energy distribution within the cold and static fluid. The use of SWCNH water nanofluid as absorber in solar devices seems a very promising step towards efficiency enhancement and more compact and integrated designs.


Addition of SWCNH as additive in lubricant oil for competition racing engines is under investigation, in view of their cleaning action and improved thermal properties. The choice of the best commercial oil employed in compressors is still one of the most important problems in the refrigeration field. This lubricant should satisfy several requirements, as a good solubility with refrigerants, excellent tribological properties, high compatibility with the materials and a proper viscosity. The dispersion of SWCNH in oils promises to improve their characteristics, offering a good opportunity in the selection of the most suitable lubricant for a given application. Rheometric and thermal properties of POE/SWCNH nanoils are underinvestigation.

Phantom tissue

SWCNH-based nanofluids are also appealing for biological tissue optics, as candidate materials to be used as reference pure absorbers in optical-tissue simulating phantoms.

References & Examples

Viscosity of water based SWCNH and TiO2 nanofluids - Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science – 36 (2012) 65 –71

Absorption and scattering properties of carbon nanohorn-based nanofluids for direct sunlight absorbers - Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:282

Experimental stability analysis of different water based nanofluids - Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:300

Optical characterisation of Carbon-Nanohorn based nanofluids for solar energy and life science applications - Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe (CLEO EUROPE/EQEC), 2011 Conference on and 12th European Quantum Electronics Conference

Potential of carbon nanohorn-based suspensions for solar thermal collectors (2011) Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 95 (11), pp. 2994-3000


Optical properties of breast tumor phantoms containing carbon nanotubes and nanohorns (2011) Journal of Biomedical Optics, 16 (5), art. no. 051304



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