Natural Convection in a Horizontal Layer of Water Cooled From Above to Near Freezing

[+] Author and Article Information
R. E. Forbes, J. W. Cooper

Mechanical Engineering Department, Mississippi State University, State College, Miss.

J. Heat Transfer 97(1), 47-53 (Feb 01, 1975) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3450286 History: Received July 26, 1973; Online August 11, 2010


Natural convection in horizontal layers of water cooled from above to near freezing was studied analytically. The water was confined laterally and underneath by rigid insulators, and the upper horizontal surface was subjected to: (1) a constant 0C temperature, rigid conducting boundary, and (2) a free, water to air convection boundary condition, in which the convective heat transfer coefficient was held constant at values of 5.68 W/m2 · K and 284 W/m2 · K (1.0 and 50.0 Btu/hr ft2 F) and the temperature of the ambient air was maintained at 0C. The ratios of the width to the depth of the rectangular water layers under consideration were W/D = 1, 3, and 6. Initially the water is assumed to be at a uniform temperature of either 4C or 8C, and then the upper surface boundary condition was suddenly applied. It was observed in all cases for which the initial water temperature was 4C, that the water remained stagnant and became thermally stratified. Heat transfer application of either of the surface boundary conditions to water initially at 8C produced large convective eddies extending from the bottom to the top of the layer of water. As the liquid layer cooled further, two distinct horizontal regions appeared, the 4C isothermal line separating the two. This produces a region of hydrodynamic instability in the fluid since the maximum density fluid (4C) is physically located above the less dense fluid in the lower portion of the cavity. The large eddies which appeared initially were confined to the hydrodynamically unstable region bounded by the 4C isotherm and the bottom of the cavity. The action of viscous shearing forces upon the stable water above the 4C isotherm produced a second “layer” of eddies. An alternating direction implicit finite difference method was used to solve the coupled system of partial differential equations. The paper presents transient isotherms and streamlines and a discussion of the effect of maximum density on the flow patterns.

Copyright © 1975 by ASME
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