Malik, Darren R. (2010-05). Evaluation of Composite Alumina Nanoparticle and Nitrate Eutectic Materials for use in Concentrating Solar Power Plants. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The focus of this research was to create and characterize high temperature alumina and
    nitrate salt eutectic nanofluids for use in thermal energy storage (TES) systems. The nitrate
    eutectic was originally used in the TES system demonstrated as part of the Solar Two power
    tower and is currently employed as the TES material at Andasol 1 in Spain. Concentrations of
    alumina nanoparticles between 0.1% and 10% by weight were introduced into the base material
    in an effort to create nanofluids which would exhibit improved specific heat capacity to reduce
    the $/kWht thermal energy storage system costs.
    The composite materials were created using an aqueous mixing method in which both
    the nanoparticles and nitrate eutectic were placed into solution using acidic water. This solution
    was then sonicated in an ultrasonic bath in an effort to reduce nanoparticle agglomeration and to
    improve homogeneity. After boiling off the excess water, the nanoparticle-nitrate eutectic
    composite was recovered for characterization. The thermal properties of both the composite and
    base materials were characterized using the differential scanning calorimetry techniques outlined
    in ASTM E 1269.
    The created nanofluids were not stable and did not offer a cost-effective alternative to
    the current nitrate eutectic TES material. Despite these setbacks, a positive correlation between
    alumina concentration and nanofluid specific heat was demonstrated. Additionally, the specific heat capacities of the created nanofluids exceeded that predicted by the current theoretical
    models. These findings suggest that further work in the field of high temperature nanofluids for
    use in TES systems is warranted.

publication date

  • May 2010