Personal computers as well as larger electronic systems can overheat which causes them to slow down, or worse, completely shut down.

Now researchers have found that substances called nanofluids have the potential to help keep electronics cool. They are made of metallic nanoparticles that have been added to a liquid, such as water. But there are many different kinds, and past research on their coolant abilities has been limited.

In a study published the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, researchers used something called a microchannel heat sink to simulate the warm environment of working electronic systems.

They analysed three nanofluids for the traits that are important in an effective coolant.

These include how well they transfer heat, how much energy they lose, the friction they cause and their pumping power.

All three performed better than water as coolants with the nanofluid mixture of copper oxide and water topping them all.