Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Frank Pyrtle III, Ph.D.


Nanoparticles, Thermal management, Critical heat flux, Alumina, Phase change


Spray cooling is a technique for achieving large heat fluxes at low surface temperatures by impinging a liquid in droplet form on a heated surface. Heat is removed by droplets spreading across the surface, thus removing heat by evaporation and by an increase in the convective heat transfer coefficient. The addition of nano-sized particles, like aluminum or copper, to water to create a nanofluid could further enhance the spray cooling process. Nanofluids have been shown to have better thermophysical properties when compared to water, like enhanced thermal conductivity. Although droplet size, velocity, impact angle and the roughness of the heated surface are all factors that determine the amount of heat that can be removed, the dominant driving mechanism for heat dissipation by spray cooling is difficult to determine. In the current study, experiments were conducted to compare the enhancement to heat transfer caused by using alumina nanofluids during spray cooling instead of de-ionized water for the same nozzle pressure and distance from the heated surface. The fluids were sprayed on a heated copper surface at a constant distance of 21 mm. Three mass concentrations, 0.1%, 0.5%, and 1.0%, of alumina nanofluids were compared against water at three pressures, 40psi, 45psi, and 50psi. To ensure the suspension of the aluminum oxide nanoparticles during the experiment, the pH level of the nanofluid was altered. The nanofluids showed an enhancement during the single-phase heat transfer and an increase in the critical heat flux (CHF). The spray cooling heat transfer curve shifted to the right for all concentrations investigated, indicating a delay in two-phase heat transfer. The surface roughness of the copper surface was measured before and after spray cooling as a possible cause for the delay.