The arguments in favor of using nanofluids in thermal applications have been increasing substantially for the last few decades. Nanofluids provide improved performance in heat transfer processes in comparison to their base fluids as a result of their superior thermal properties. Even though nanofluids exhibit better thermal properties, their usage has been limited due to their stability issues. The stability of the nanofluid greatly affects its thermal properties over a period of time. The stability and thermal properties of nanofluids can be affected by parameters like surfactants used and their concentrations, and also on the nanomaterial used in the nanofluid. In this study, surfactant material and nanoparticle material are selected as process variables and for each variable two levels are selected. For surfactant material, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Cetyl Trimethyl Ammonium Bromide (CTAB) are selected. Surfactant concentration ratios are taken as 1:2 for CuO and 1:4 for Fe3O4 material. Four nanofluid samples are prepared with 0.1% weight of nanoparticles and their stability and properties are studied. The feasibility of turbidity as an indicator for stability is also explored in this work.
The results show that the zeta potential and hydrodynamic characteristics are largely dependent on the surfactant material. Both surfactants show good stability of nanofluids. In-line with earlier observations, it is also observed that the nanoparticle material has a dominant effect on the thermal conductivity of the nanofluids. Comparing the turbidity of the nanofluids to the zeta potential, it is observed that the turbidity measurement gives first-hand information about the stability of nanofluids and can act as an index for stability. But still, more exploration is necessary for this field so a quantitive relation can be established between turbidity and zeta potential of different nanofluid materials and concentrations.