TitleSynthesis of colloidal metal oxide nanocrystals and nanostructured surfaces using a continuous flow microreactor system and their applications in two-phase boiling heat transfer
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsChoi, C
UniversityOregon State University
CityCorvallis, Or.
Thesis TypeDissertation

Metal oxide nanocrystals have attracted significant interests due to their unique chemical, physical, and electrical properties which depend on their size and structure. In this study, a continuous flow microreactor system was employed to synthesize metal oxide nanocrystals in aqueous solution. Assembly of nanocrystals is considered one of the most promising approaches to design nano-, microstructures, and complex mesoscopic architectures. A variety of strategies to induce nanocrystal assembly have been reported, including directed assembly methods that apply external forces to fabricate assembled structures. In this study ZnO nanocrystals were synthesized in an aqueous solution using a continuous flow microreactor. The growth mechanism and stability of ZnO nanocrystals were studied by varying the pH and flow conditions of the aqueous solution. It was found that convective fluid flow from Dean vortices in a winding microcapillary tube could be used for the assembly of ZnO nanocrystals. The ZnO nanocrystal assemblies formed three-dimensional mesoporous structures of different shapes including a tactoid, a retangle and a sphere. The assembly results from a competing interaction between electrostatic forces caused by surface charge of nanocrystals and collision of nanocrystals associated with Dean vortices. The as synthesized colloidal ZnO nanocrystals or assembly were directly deposited onto a substrate to fabricate ZnO nanostructured surfaces. The rectangular assembly led to flower-like ZnO nanostructured films, while the spherical assembly resulted in amorphous ZnO thin film and vertical ZnO nanowire (NW) arrays. In contrast to the formation of flower structure or amorphous thin film, only colloidal ZnO nanocrystals were used as the building blocks for forming vertical ZnO NW arrays. This study demonstrates the versatility of the microreactor-assisted nanomaterial synthesis and deposition process for the production of nanostrucuturesres with various morphologies by tuning the physical parameters while using the same chemical precursors for the synthesis. ZnO flower structure was coated on a microwick structure to improve the capillary flow. The coated microwick structure showed an enhanced capillary rise, which was attributed to the hydrophilic property and geometrical modification of ZnO nanostructure. Two-phase boiling heat transfer was performed using ZnO nanostructured surfaces. ZnO nanocoating altered the important characteristics including surface roughness and wettability. Hydrophilic nature of the ZnO nanocoating generally enhanced the boiling heat transfer performance, resulting in higher heat transfer coefficient (HTC), higher critical heat flux (CHF), and lower surface superheat comparing to the bare surface. Octahedral SnO and porous NiO films, fabricated by a continuous flow microreactor system, were suggested as potential boiling surfaces for the high porosity and irregularity of their structures.