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Novel WS2‑Based Nanofluids for Concentrating Solar Power: Performance Characterization and Molecular-Level Insights

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journal contribution
posted on 23.01.2020, 23:44 by Paloma Martínez-Merino, Scott D. Midgley, Elisa I. Martín, Patrice Estellé, Rodrigo Alcántara, Antonio Sánchez-Coronilla, Ricardo Grau-Crespo, Javier Navas
Nano-colloidal suspensions of nanomaterials in a fluid, nanofluids, are appealing because of their interesting properties related to heat transfer processes. While nanomaterials based on transition metal chalcogenides (TMCs) have been widely studied in catalysis, sensing, and energy storage applications, there are few studies of nanofluids based on TMCs for heat transfer applications. In this study, the preparation and analysis of nanofluids based on 2D-WS2 in a typical heat transfer fluid (HTF) used in concentrating solar power (CSP) plants are reported. Nanofluids prepared using an exfoliation process exhibited well-defined nanosheets and were highly stable. The nanofluids were characterized in terms of properties related to their application in CSP. The presence of WS2 nanosheets did not modify significantly the surface tension, the viscosity, or the isobaric specific heat, but the thermal conductivity was improved by up to 30%. The Ur factor, which characterizes the thermal efficiency of the fluid in the solar collector, shows an enhancement of up to 22% in the nanofluid, demonstrating great promise for CSP applications. The Reynolds number and friction factor of the fluid were not significantly modified by the addition of the nanomaterial to the HTF, which is also positive for practical applications in CSP plants. Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of the nanoparticle/fluid interface showed an irreversible dissociative adsorption of diphenyl oxide molecules on the WS2 edge, with very low kinetic barrier. The resulting “decoration” of the WS2 edge dramatically affects the nature of the interface interactions and is therefore expected to affect significantly the rheological and transport properties of the nanofluids.