Preparation, characterization, and analysis of multi-walled carbon nanotube-based nanofluid: an aggregate based interpretation
Nanofluids are gaining attention as an attractive solution for the sustainable machining of difficult-to-cut materials. Despite the enormous recent work in the literature, there are still contradictions concerning the effect of different preparation factors on the characteristics of nanofluids and the underlying mechanisms governing them. In the present study, the effect of varying the preparation factors, namely, multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) concentration, sonication time, and surfactant amount on various nanofluid characteristics and the interactions among these characteristics were studied. The characteristics are divided into two categories: (a) dispersion/stability and (b) viscosity/wettability. The analysis showed strong interactions between these two categories which were mainly attributed to aggregates' formation and dynamics. For the stability/dispersion responses, the effect of aggregation and saturation phenomena is discussed in relation to the different preparation factors. Our analysis shows that the nanofluid viscosity is strongly dependent on aggregate morphology. As for wettability, a novel mechanism is proposed and used to explain the nanoparticles' influence on wettability based on the nanolayering theory. Finally, multi objective optimization (MOO) based on grey relational analysis (GRA) was performed. It was found that moderate MWCNT concentration, high sonication time, and low surfactant amount show the optimal characteristics within the current study design variables search domain. The novelty in the present study lies in its consideration of the simultaneous interaction between the nanofluids' properties and stability. Unlike the common practice in the literature, which focuses on one or two aspects of nanofluids, our approach broadens the analysis and provides in-depth insights into the nanofluid as a complete physical system.