This paper reports on preliminary experimental results on using nanofluids to enhance the thermal performance of heat pipes. Our experience with preparing copper oxide (CuO) nanofluids is described. Contrary to earlier studies which report infinite shelf life, we found that nanofluid stability lasted for about three weeks only; an issue which merits further study. We have also conducted various experiments to measure the variation of thermal conductivity and surface tension with CuO nanofluid concentration. Actual experiments on nanofluid heat pipes were also performed which indicated an average 12.5% decrease in the overall thermal resistance of the heat pipe using nanofluid of 3% vol concentration. This observed improvement is fairly consistent with our predictions using a simple analytical thermal network model for heat pipe overall resistance and the measured nanofluid conductivity. The results, though encouraging, need more careful and elaborate experimental studies before the evidence can be deemed conclusive.

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