The study of the natural convection over a very small heat sources is important in the analysis of heat transfer problems in the electronics industry. However, the characteristics of the spatial distribution of the velocity in the near wall region, which is crucial to the mechanisms of heat transfer process in natural convection around a microscale object, is not well understood. In this investigation, the microscale natural convection in the near wall region of a platinum micro heat source was investigated numerically, using FLUENT, a commercially available computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, and compared with corresponding experimental results. The influence of the nanoparticles on the natural convection was observed using the single-phase or two-phase models available in FLUENT. The temperature and velocity fields were obtained, with which the Brownian diffusion coefficient was deduced. The results indicate that the temperature gradient induced Brownian diffusion and thermophoresis in the near wall region plays an important role in the microscale natural convection in the water/nanoparticle mixture investigated and are in good agreement with the results from a corresponding experimental investigation.

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