On the Low Rayleigh Number Asymptote for Natural Convection Through an Isothermal, Parallel-Plate Channel

[+] Author and Article Information
L. Martin, G. D. Raithby, M. M. Yovanovich

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

J. Heat Transfer 113(4), 899-905 (Nov 01, 1991) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2911219 History: Received March 07, 1990; Revised November 30, 1990; Online May 23, 2008


The problem of natural convection through a channel formed by isothermal, parallel plates forms a cornerstone of our understanding of a class of natural convection flows. Following the pioneering study of Elenbaas, it is widely accepted that there is a fully developed régime, at low Rayleigh number, in which the Nusselt number becomes directly proportional to the Rayleigh number. This paper gives a detailed analysis of heat transfer in this régime. It is concluded that the previous numerical studies, which appeared to confirm this asymptote, used inappropriate boundary conditions, and that the asymptotic behavior should, in fact, not be expected except under very special conditions.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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