Research Papers

Natural-Convection Heat Transfer in Liquids Confined by Two Horizontal Plates and Heated From Below

[+] Author and Article Information
Samuel Globe

Physics Section, Avco Research and Advanced Development Division, Wilmington, Mass.

David Dropkin

Department of Thermal Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.Avco

J. Heat Transfer 81(1), 24-28 (Feb 01, 1959) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4008124 History: Received July 21, 1958; Published February 01, 1959; Online February 19, 2019


This paper presents results of an experimental investigation of convective heat transfer in liquids placed between two horizontal plates and heated from below. The liquids used were water, silicone oils of 1.5, 50, and 1000 centistoke kinematic viscosities, and mercury.

The experiments covered a range of Rayleigh numbers between 1.51(10)5 and 6.76(10)8. and Prandtl numbers between 0.02 and 8750.

Tests were made in cylindrical containers having copper tops and bottoms and insulating walls. For water and silicone oils the container was 5 in. in diam and 2 in. high. For mercury, two containers were used, both 5.28 in. in diameter, but one 1.39 in. high and another 2.62 in. high. In all cases the bottom plates were heated by electric heaters. The top plates were air-cooled for the water and silicone-oil experiments and water-cooled for the mercury tests. To prevent amalgamation, the copper plates of the mercury container were chromium plated.

Surface temperatures were measured by thermocouples embedded in the plates.

The test results indicate that the heat-transfer coefficients for all liquids investigated may be determined from the relationship Display Formula


In this equation the Nusselt and Rayleigh numbers are based on the distance between the copper plates.

The results of this experiment are in reasonable agreement with the data reported by others who used larger containers and different fluids.

Copyright © 1959 by ASME
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