RESEARCH PAPERS: Natural and Mixed Convection

Evidence of a Convective Instability Allowing Warm Water to Freeze in Less Time Than Cold Water

[+] Author and Article Information
P. K. Maciejewski

Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

J. Heat Transfer 118(1), 65-72 (Feb 01, 1996) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2824069 History: Received May 01, 1995; Revised October 01, 1995; Online December 05, 2007


This experimental study explores the possibility that warm water may freeze in less time than cold water due to natural convection alone, i.e., in the absence of significant cooling by evaporation. This possibility is rooted in the following two hypotheses: (1) The Rayleigh number associated with a sample of warm water may exceed a critical value above which the convective motions within the water sample may become turbulent and enhance the rate of convective cooling, and (2) the inversion of the flow field that is expected to occur in the vicinity of maximum density, i.e., at 4°C, will occur at different points in the cooling process for identical samples of water at different levels of initial temperature and result in an enhanced rate of convective cooling after the flow field inversion for those cases at higher levels of initial temperature that enter the flow field inversion with higher kinetic energy. The results of this study establish that, under certain circumstances, a sample of water that is initially warm will freeze in less time than an identical sample of water that is initially cold due to natural convection alone.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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