Recent advances on the fundamental physical phenomena behind stability, dynamic motion, thermophysical properties, heat transport, applications, and challenges of nanofluids

Zafar Said, L. Syam Sundar, Arun Kumar Tiwari, Hafiz Muhammad Ali, Mohsen Sheikholeslami, Evangelos Bellos, Hamza Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the past decade, nanotechnology’s rapid developments have created quite a lot of prospects for researchers and engineers to check up on. And nanofluids are important consequences of this progression. Nanofluids are created by suspending nanoparticles with average diameters below 100 nm in conventional heat transfer carriers such as water, oil, ethylene glycol, etc. Nanofluids are considered to offer substantial advantages over usual heat transfer fluids. When dispersed in a uniform way and suspended stably in the base fluids, a minimal amount of nanoparticles can significantly improve the thermal properties of host fluids. Present work attempts to address this challenge considering state-of-the-art advances in understanding, discussing, and mitigating problems about nanofluids’ stability. Stable and highly conductive nanofluids are produced by generally, one-step and two-step production methods. Both approaches suffer from problems with the nanoparticles’ agglomeration to be an important one. Thus, numerous numerical models and the principal physical phenomena affecting the stability (fundamental physical principles that govern the interparticle interactions, clustering and deposition kinetics, and colloidal stability theories) have been analyzed. Concerning the particles’ dynamic motion, the significance of different forces in nanofluid in particulate flows such as drag, lift (Magnus and Saffman), Brownian, thermophoretic, Van der Waals, electrostatic double-layer forces are investigated. Furthermore, an overview of nanofluids’ thermophysical properties, physical models, and heat transfer models is​ included in this work. In order to realize the unexpected discoveries and overcome classical models’ limitations, several researchers have suggested new physical concepts and mechanisms, and they have created new models to enhance the transport properties. This review study includes numerous aspects of the nanofluids’ science by investigating applications, thermal properties and giving critical chronological milestones about the nanofluids’ evolution. Also, the present review discusses in detail various modeling and slip mechanisms for the heat transfer of nanofluids. Potential novel 2D materials as nanofluids have also been discussed and reported. A brief overview of the potential applications utilizing nanofluids has been reviewed, and future research gaps have been reported. Furthermore, recommendations were extracted regarding current scientific gaps and future research directions to cover the physical phenomenon, stability, thermophysical properties, overview of some applications, and the limitations hindering these nanofluids’ deployment. The review is presumed to be valuable for scholars and researchers working in the area of numerical simulations of nanofluids and experimental aspects and help them understand the fundamental physical phenomena taking place during these numerical simulations and experiments and explore the potential of nanofluids both in academia and industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-94
Number of pages94
JournalPhysics Reports
Early online date19 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Stability
  • Nanofluids
  • Physical phenomenon
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Thermophysical properties
  • Heat transport
  • 2D materials


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