Specific heat capacity enhancement studied in silica doped potassium nitrate via molecular dynamics simulation

S Engelmann and R Hentschke, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9, 7606 (2019).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44132-3

Molten salts serve an important purpose for short term heat energy storage and as heat transfer fluids in solar power plants. Different experimental groups have shown that certain mixtures containing salts doped with small amounts of nanoparticles exhibit much greater specific heat capacities compared to the same base salts without nanoparticles. This effect is technically interesting and economically important. Thus far, however, it is not understood. Our aim is the theoretical investigation of the specific heat capacity in the aforementioned nanofluids on the molecular level using simulations. Here we present results for liquid potassium nitrate doped with silica nanoparticles. We discuss the observed increase of the specific heat in terms of the particle induced hydrodynamic reinforcement and liquid structure. The theoretical background of this discussion is a omega-space resolved phonon theory of liquids in conjunction with differential spectral densities, computed for the different systems with and without nanoparticles.

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