Technical Brief

Thermal Convection in Porous Media at High Rayleigh Numbers

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel J. Keene

Department of Engineering and Computer Science,
Seattle Pacific University,
Seattle, WA 98119
e-mail: keened@spu.edu

R. J. Goldstein

Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received July 7, 2014; final manuscript received November 4, 2014; published online December 17, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Oronzio Manca.

J. Heat Transfer 137(3), 034503 (Mar 01, 2015) (4 pages) Paper No: HT-14-1450; doi: 10.1115/1.4029087 History: Received July 07, 2014; Revised November 04, 2014; Online December 17, 2014

An experimental study of thermal convection in a porous medium investigates the heat transfer across a horizontal layer heated from below at high Rayleigh number. Using a packed bed of polypropylene spheres in a cubic enclosure saturated with compressed argon, the pressure was varied between 5.6 bar and 77 bar to obtain fluid Rayleigh numbers between 1.68 × 109 and 3.86 × 1011, corresponding to Rayleigh–Darcy numbers between 7.47 × 103 and 2.03 × 106. From the present and earlier studies of Rayleigh–Benard convection in both porous media and homogeneous fluid systems, the existence and importance of a thin thermal boundary layer are clearly demonstrated. In addition to identifying the governing role of the thermal boundary layer at high Rayleigh numbers, the successful correlation of data using homogeneous fluid dimensionless groups when the thermal boundary layer thickness becomes smaller than the length scale associated with the pore features is shown.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Cross section of experimental convection test cell containing the packed bed of spheres. Fiberglass insulation (not shown) occupies the volume between the test cell assembly and the interior surface of the pressure vessel.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Heat transfer data for natural convection in a variety of porous media heated from below plotted using porous media dimensionless groups. See Table 1 for legend details.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Heat transfer data for natural convection in a variety of porous media heated from below plotted using homogeneous fluid dimensionless groups. Correlations for the heat transport of a homogeneous fluid layer are included for comparison. See Table 1 for legend details.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Thermal boundary layer thickness estimates for the porous media data sets. See Table 1 for legend details.




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