nanolubricant, solubility, miscibility, thermal conductivity, equilibrium, mixtures
In vapor compression cycles, a small portion of the oil circulates with the refrigerant throughout the system components, while most of the oil stays in the compressors. In heat exchangers, the lubricant in excess penalizes the heat transfer and increases the pressure losses: both effects are highly undesired but yet unavoidable. Nanoparticles dispersed in the excess lubricant are expected to provide enhancements in heat transfer. While solubility and miscibility of refrigerants in polyolesters (POE) lubricant are well established knowledge there is a lack of information regarding if and how nanoparticles dispersed in the lubricant affect these two properties. This paper presents experimental data of solubility and miscibility of three types of Al2O3 nanolubricants with refrigerant R410A. The nanoparticles were dispersed in POE lubricant by using different surfactants and dispersion methods and the nanolubricants showed lower refrigerant R410A solubility than that of POE oil. High viscosity suspensions are expected to stabilize the nanoparticles and avoid clustering. This aspect was verified in the present paper for the Al2O3 nanolubricants and long term stability and the degree of agglomeration, when present, were measured. The data identified optimum combinations of surfactants to achieve stable and uniform nanolubricant dispersions for several months. Surfactants affected slightly the thermal conductivity, specific heat, viscosity, and solubility properties of the nanolubricants. The specific heats of the nanolubricants were lower than that of POE oil at temperatures from 0 to 20°C while they were similar at 40°C. Thermal conductivity ranged from 1.1 times higher at 5°C to 1.4 times higher at 40°C than that of POE lubricant. The viscosity was about 2.6 times higher at 5°C while it was similar to that of POE lubricant at 40°C. The thermal and transport properties data for three nanolubricants provided in this paper advance the basic understanding of nanoparticles interaction with R410A refrigerant and POE lubricant mixtures.