MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE ACTIONS Individual Fellowships (IF) H2020-MSCA-IF-2016


Using Phase Change Materials for the Base Suspension in the Creation of NanoFluids


Acronym: PCMNano        Project ID: 753319   27/08/2018 - 26/08/2020


Dr. Brian Reding

E-mail: breding@ucm.es


Advisor: Prof. Mohamed Khayet

E-mail. khayetm@fis.ucm.es


Director of the Research Group “Membranes and Renewable Energies”



Department of Structure of Matter, Thermal Physics and Electronics

Faculty of Physical Sciences

University Complutense of Madrid (UCM)

Avda. Complutense s/n, Madrid (Spain)



Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project:

Phase Change Materials (PCMs) provide an innovative way to handle the increased need for heat transfer and thermal efficiency. PCMs can constitute a wide variety of materials, but are required to possess large latent heats. Organic compounds including hydrocarbons are ideally suited for use as PCMs, but the thermal property data is quite scarce and what is available is only very few data with high standard deviations considering the experimental set-ups used.

The research is important to society because there is a significant need for more research and development in the field of thermal properties of PCMs in order to improve heat transfer capabilities in any thermal processes and/or for thermal energy storage. Furthermore, it is possible that the addition of nanoparticles to certain organic compounds can further enhance the PCMs’ heat transfer properties. Therefore, using an organic compound as the base suspension for the creation of a nanofluid should produce a working fluid with thermal transport properties far greater than anything in use today. Then, if successful, this action will provide a means of thermal transport (cooling or storage) beyond today’s current state-of-the-art.

The first work package of the action is to determine the thermal properties of possible PCMs for different base suspension (hydrocarbons) materials using the Transient Hot-Wire (THW) Method. The second work package will use the PCMs from the first phase as a base suspension to create different nanofluids, which will then be tested in the same manner as the base fluids in the first phase. Once all of the experiments have been concluded the data and results will be compared to the base fluids. The nanofluids are expected to produce an order of magnitude higher thermal conductivity than the base fluids alone.

In the PCMNano project, the developed and tested nanofluids using different types of nano-particles, including some commercial nanofluids, do not show such expected enhancement of the thermal conductivity. 


Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far:

The incorporated researcher to the University Complutense of Madrid research group “Membranes and Renewable Energies” was trained so that he becomes proficient with the construction and practice of the Transient Hot Wire (THW) technique for the thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity measurements, and the Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) technique for measuring the melting temperature among other thermal parameters. He has improved upon the THW experimental acquisition system by conducting a series of trials to determine the most effective and reliable heating amperage and timing for determining the thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity.  A material survey of organic compounds has been conducted and it was determined that the following compounds are best suited for use in the action: Ethylene Glycol, 1,2,3,4-Tetrahydronaphthalene, 1,2-Dichlorobenzene, Hexane, Jojoba Oil, Carnauba Wax and Bees Wax. The considered nanoparticles are Fullerene (C60), Titanium Oxide (IV) [21 nm], Aluminum Oxide [13nm], Tin (IV) Oxide [<100nm], Copper Aluminum Oxide, Iron (II, III) Oxide, Graphene oxide, Boron Nitride and Molybdenum disulphide. By using the THW Method the thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity of these compounds have been determined.

Some interesting results have been disseminated and presented at the 26th Biennial Thermodynamic Conference [26-28 June 2019, Huelva, Spain] of the Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics Group (SMTG) of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00268976.2020.1771043 ) and at the XXXVIIth Biennial Meeting [15-19 July 2019, Zaragoza, Spain] of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics (RSEF, https://eventos.unizar.es/20274/detail/bienalrsef2019.html ). 

Three other disseminations in international congresses organized for the year 2020 were finally postponed because of the pandemic Covid-19:

5th edition of ImagineNano 2020; Bilbao, Spain, 28 - 30 April 2020 (Postponed to 25-27 May 2021) Website: http://www.imaginenano.com

31st European Symposium on Applied Thermodynamics; ESAT  2020; Paris, France, 28 June – 1 July 2020 (postponed to 4 – 7 July 2021, ESAT 2020 becomes ESAT 2021)

Website: http://www.esat2020.com

11th LIQUID MATTER CONFERENCE 2020; LMC 2020; Prague, Czech Republic, 20 - 24 July 2020 (postponed to 18-23 July 2021) Website: http://www.lmc2020.cz

A paper entitled (Thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity of fullerene-based nanofluids) has been published as Open Access in www.nature.com/Scientific Reports  (2022) 12:9603. Authors: Brian Reding & Mohamed Khayet.



Progress beyond the state of the art, expected results until the end of the project and potential impacts:

Thus far, in the action the researcher has improved upon the current acquisition capabilities of the experimental system making the results of the Transient Hot-Wire (THW) method more efficient and reproducible. This leads to more reliable results and greater accuracy in future experiments and projects. With the thermal conductivities of the base compounds in-hand, it is expected that the inclusion of the nanoparticles will increase the thermal conductivity by a significant factor.

Determination of the physical properties of both organic compounds together with their use as base suspensions for nanofluids are of great significance to the science and engineering community in the field of heat efficiency and conversion, thermal storage, renewable energy, etc. Having this type of information is vital to future scientific and commercial endeavors. For instance, in solar thermal collectors having a working fluid with adequate thermal properties improves their efficiency. Furthermore, thermal transportation devices are becoming ever more vital and determination of the thermal properties of PCMs can advance innovation in said devices; this is necessary because every year a greater demand is being placed on thermal efficiency. This information is also vital in the oil and gas industries, where these types of hydrocarbons are commonly found within fossil fuel deposits around the world, and knowing their physical properties is essential to proficient extraction of these natural resources.