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Thermal conductivities of two kinds of Au nanoparticles were measured in water and toluene media. The water soluble particles, 10–20 nm in mean diameter, made with citrate stabilization showed thermal conductivity enhancement of 5%–21% in the temperature range of 30–60 °C at a loading of 0.000 26 (by volume). The effect was 7%–14% for Au particles stabilized with a monolayer of octadecanethiol even for a loading of 0.011%. Comparatively lower thermal conductivity enhancement was observed for larger diameter Ag particles for significantly higher loading. Effective enhancement of 9%, even at vanishing concentrations, points to additional factors in the thermal conductivity mechanism in nanofluids. Results also point to important chemical factors such as the need for direct contact of the metal surface with the solvent medium to improve enhancement. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.