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Roeleveld1

Department of Mechanical &

Industrial Engineering,

Ryerson University,

350 Victoria Street,

Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada

e-mail: droeleve@ryerson.ca

D. Naylor

Department of Mechanical &

Industrial Engineering,

Ryerson University,

350 Victoria Street,

Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada

W. H. Leong

Department of Mechanical &

Industrial Engineering,

Ryerson University,

350 Victoria Street,

Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada

Free Convection in

Asymmetrically Heated

Vertical Channels

With Opposing Buoyancy

Forces

Laser interferometry and flow visualization were used to study free convective heat transfer inside a vertical channel. Most studies in the literature have investigated buoyancy

forces in a single direction. The study presented here investigated opposing buoyancy

forces, where one wall is warmer than the ambient and the other wall is cooler than the

ambient. An experimental model of an isothermally, asymmetrically heated vertical channel was constructed. Interferometry provided temperature field visualization and flow visualization was used to obtain the streamlines. Experiments were carried out over a range

of aspect ratios between 8.8 and 26.4, using temperature ratios of 0, 0.5, and 0.75.

These conditions provide a modified Rayleigh number range of approximately 5 to 1100.

In addition, the measured local and average Nusselt number data were compared to numerical solutions obtained using ANSYS FLUENT. Air was the fluid of interest. So the Prandtl

number was fixed at 0.71. Numerical solutions were obtained for modified Rayleigh numbers ranging from the laminar fully developed flow regime to the turbulent isolated

boundary layer regime. A semi-empirical correlation of the average Nusselt number was

developed based on the experimental data. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4026218]

Keywords: interferometry, flow visualization, numerical modeling, natural convection,

vertical channel

Introduction

transfer problem that has been studied extensively in the literature.

There are many applications of this problem, such as electronics

cooling, simulation of flow in nuclear reactors, and fenestration

systems (i.e., windows with blinds). Many of these studies have

investigated buoyancy driven flow in a single direction inside an

asymmetrically heated vertical channel. The current study investigates opposing buoyancy driven flow, where the fluid tends to

flow in opposite directions inside the vertical channel.

A schematic diagram of the vertical channel geometry is shown

in Fig. 1. An open-ended vertical channel is created by two isothermal channel walls of height L separated by a channel spacing

b. The aspect ratio of the channel is defined as A L/b. The cold

wall has a temperature TC and the hot wall has a temperature TH.

The cold wall temperature is set below the ambient temperature

T1 and the hot wall is set above the ambient temperature. Aung

[1] defined a temperature ratio as

RT

TC T1

TH T1

(1)

channel have investigated temperature ratios in the range of

0 RT 1 (i.e., TC, TH > T1). This study will investigate opposing buoyancy forces, where the temperature ratio is in the range of

1 < RT 0 (i.e., TH > T1 and TC < T1).

1

Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the

JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 11, 2013; final

manuscript received November 28, 2013; published online March 7, 2014. Assoc.

Editor: Zhixiong Guo.

There have been numerous studies on free convection in isothermally heated vertical channels. Elenbaas [2] was one of the

first to study heat flow in a symmetrically (i.e., TH TC, RT 1),

isothermally heated vertical channel. Using two square plates separated by various channel spacings, he was able to obtain experimental data for a wide range of modified Rayleigh numbers.

Some analytical work determined that the Nusselt number

approaches two asymptotes at the upper and lower modified Rayleigh numbers. An overall channel average Nusselt number correlation was developed using the analytical work and experimental

data.

Aung et al. [3] studied the conditions of a uniform heat flux and

a uniform wall temperature in an asymmetrically heated vertical

channel. Numerical solutions were obtained over a wide range of

modified Rayleigh numbers and some experimental work was performed to verify the results. They showed that, for uniform wall

temperatures, a nearly universal curve can be used to relate the

Nusselt numbers and the modified Rayleigh numbers for a wide

range of temperature ratios. This is the case if the Nusselt number

and Rayleigh number are defined by using the appropriate characteristic temperature difference. This characteristic temperature

difference is defined as

DT

TH TC

T1

2

(2)

gbDT q2 b3 b

Rab=L

(3)

Pr

L

l2

where g is gravity, b is the fluid thermal expansion coefficient, q

is the fluid density, l is the fluid dynamic viscosity, and Pr is the

C 2014 by ASME

Copyright V

asymptotes at low and high modified Rayleigh numbers to develop correlations. They developed correlations for both isothermal and isoflux conditions in symmetrically and asymmetrically

heated vertical channels. The new correlations were developed to

fit various experimental and numerical data. A review of all the

correlations was performed by Raithby and Hollands [5]. It was

determined that the best correlation for the overall channel average Nusselt number for isothermally heated channel walls is

2

0

!1:9

1=1:9

1:9

@0:618Rab=L1=4

Nu 4 Nufd

temperature difference is taken because in the context of this paper, the modified Rayleigh number is always positive. The overall

channel average Nusselt number is defined as

Nu

qH qC b

2kDT

(4)

where qH and qC are the average convective heat fluxes at the hot

and cold walls in the vertical channel and k is the fluid thermal

conductivity. The hot wall heat flux is always positive and the

cold wall heat flux is usually negative in the negative temperature

ratio cases. All air properties are evaluated at the film temperature,

unless otherwise noted. The film temperature is defined as

Tf

TH TC =2 T1

2

(5)

channel was studied analytically by Aung [1]. It was found that at

low modified Rayleigh numbers (Ra(b/L) ! 0), the asymptote of

the Nusselt number varied depending on the temperature ratio.

The average Nusselt number at the fully developed limit is

Nufd

4R2T 7RT 4

901 RT 2

Rab=L

(6)

Various channel heating configurations were studied by BarCohen and Rohsenow [4] using analytical expressions for the

(7)

where Nufd is determined from Eq. (6). There have been many

other studies on asymmetrically, isothermally heated vertical

channels with positive temperature ratios [610]. The existing

correlations from the literature cannot accurately predict the heat

transfer of the negative temperature ratio cases.

There are three studies in the literature that investigate opposing buoyancy forces in free convection of an antisymmetrically

(i.e., RT 1) heated vertical channel. The antisymmetrical case

is where the temperature difference between the hot wall and the

ambient is the same as the temperature difference between the ambient and the cold wall (i.e., TH T1 T1 TC). Habib et al.

[11] studied turbulent flow in an antisymmetrically (RT 1)

heated vertical channel with a channel aspect ratio of 3.125. The

Rayleigh number was 2.0 106, with the hot wall 10 C above

ambient and the cold wall 10 C below ambient. (The Rayleigh

number was defined based on the channel height and the temperature difference between the hot wall and the ambient temperature.)

Velocity profiles of the flow were determined using a laser

Doppler anemometer. The results showed a large vortex flow,

with the air flowing up the hot wall and down the cold wall similar

to flow inside a tall vertical cavity.

Ayinde et al. [12] also investigated turbulent flow in an antisymmetrically heated vertical channel. Two temperature differences of TH TC 15 C and 30 C were used between the two

channel walls. Two aspect ratios of 6.25 and 12.5 and two

Rayleigh numbers of 1.0 108 and 2.0 108 were studied. (The

Rayleigh number was defined based on the channel height and the

temperature difference between the hot wall and the ambient.) A

particle image velocimeter was used to determine velocity profiles

and a correlation for dimensionless flow rate inside the channel

was developed. The results indicated that the flows entering at the

top and bottom of the channel were mixed with the recirculated

flow inside the channel before exiting the other side of the channel. The results also showed that the flow pattern inside the channel was similar to a sealed tall enclosure. In these two

experimental studies, velocity field measurements were made for

the antisymmetrical case, in relatively low aspect ratio channels

(A < 13). In contrast, the present work investigates the convective

heat transfer rates in higher aspect ratio channels (typically

A > 13) at lower Rayleigh numbers and over a wider range of negative temperature ratios.

The antisymmetrical case (RT 1) is a special case that has

been recently investigated by Roeleveld et al. [13]. Similar to the

current study, flow visualization and laser interferometry were

used to study free convection in an open-ended vertical channel.

The heat transfer rates were also determined using laser interferometry and a numerical model was developed to solve over a

wide range of Rayleigh numbers. The Rayleigh number was

defined based on the channel spacing and the temperature difference between the hot and cold walls. The special nature of the

RT 1 case can be illustrated by noting that the modified Rayleigh and Nusselt numbers will always be zero using the definitions in the current paper, Eqs. (3) and (4). The flow- and

temperature-field were found to have similarities to that of a tall

sealed enclosure. It was determined that the average convective

heat transfer of the antisymmetrical case can be approximated

inside a heated vertical channel can be reduced to 1 RT 1

and Eq. (8) can be used if the temperature ratio falls outside this

range.

Another concern in this paper is that when studying a case that

is outside the 1 RT 1 range, the characteristic temperature

difference can become negative. Using the same example from

above, the characteristic temperature difference is DT 15 C.

The traditional definition of modified Rayleigh number based on

the surface to ambient temperature difference gives a negative

value. In order to circumvent this problem, the absolute value of

the characteristic temperature difference is, therefore, used in Eq.

(3). It should be noted that the characteristic temperature difference can be negative in the Nusselt number definition in Eq. (4),

so absolute values are not required in this equation.

2 Experimental Apparatus and Methodology

Fig. 2 Schematic of two equivalent vertical channel cases with

different temperature ratios; one with negative buoyancy forces

and one with positive buoyancy forces relative to the gravity

vector

enclosure.

In the current study, an experimental model was constructed to

be used for laser interferometry and flow visualization. Flow visualization was used to determine the streamlines and laser interferometry was used to determine the isotherms. Experimental data

were obtained for three different temperature ratios (RT 0, 0.5

and 0.75) at four different aspect ratios (A 26.4, 17.6, 13.2,

and 8.8). These conditions provide a modified Rayleigh number

range of 4.7 < Ra(b/L) < 1084. The temperature field data were

then analyzed to determine the local and average Nusselt numbers. General purpose computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS FLUENT [14] was used to develop a numerical model of

free convection inside an asymmetrically, isothermally heated

vertical channel. Both laminar and turbulent numerical predictions

were validated against the experimental data. Additional numerical solutions were obtained for RT 0.5 and 0.75 over a wide

range of modified Rayleigh numbers (0.1 Ra(b/L) 104).

In the literature, most of the studies on free convection inside a

heated vertical channel with buoyancy forces in a single direction

have examined cases where these buoyancy forces are in the opposite direction of the gravity vector (i.e., TH, TC > T1). These

studies can also be applied to cases where the buoyancy forces are

in the same direction of the gravity vector (i.e., TH, TC < T1), but

there is an inherent problem when using these correlations for

negative temperatures relative to the ambient. The problem lies in

calculating the temperature ratio and the modified Rayleigh number. For example, if the cold wall is 20 C, the hot wall is

10 C, and the ambient is 0 C, then the temperature ratio is

RT 2. This temperature ratio is outside the range of 0 RT 1

of most existing studies in the literature. This can be overcome by

understanding that every case of free convection in an open-ended

vertical channel has an equivalent case with the buoyancy forces

in the opposite direction. Figure 2 shows a schematic of two

equivalent cases, one with negative buoyancy forces (RT 2) and

the other with positive buoyancy forces (RT 0.5) relative to the

gravity vector. This figure shows that a case with RT 2 is equivalent to a case with RT 0.5 assuming the air properties are constant. So if the temperature ratio is outside the range of existing

studies (0 RT 1), it can be modified by

RT RT 1

(8)

existing studies. This modified temperature ratio can be used with

the existing definitions and correlations. Using this same

with a Mach-Zehnder Interferometer (MZI) and flow visualization. Two aluminum plates were mounted vertically, with an adjustable channel spacing in order to study various aspect ratios.

The aspect ratio was adjusted in order to study various modified

Rayleigh numbers. The aluminum plates had a width of

W 355 mm and a length of L 264 mm. The plates were

roughly 38 mm thick, with beveled edges filled with polystyrene

at the top and bottom of the channel. Two constant temperature

water baths controlled the temperatures of the two aluminum

plates, by running water from the baths through grooves machined

into the back of each plate. One wall was cooled and the other

wall was heated creating the opposing buoyancy forces between

the plates. The cold wall was typically cooled 7.5 C below the

ambient room temperature except in the RT 0 case where

TC T1. This temperature was set such that it would not fall

below the dew point of the ambient air and create condensation on

the surface of the cold wall. The hot wall was typically heated 10

to 15 C above the ambient temperature depending on the temperature ratio being studied. The temperature differences between the

two channel walls were between 15 and 22.5 C. These temperature differences were used to obtain sufficient interference fringes

in the output of the interferometer. The thermocouples and thermopiles were Type T constructed out of copper and constantan

wire with special limits of error. The thermopiles were made with

12 junctions, 6 in each surface of interest. One thermopile monitored the temperature difference between the cold and hot walls of

the vertical channel and another monitored the temperature difference between the hot wall and the ambient. Six thermocouples

were used as a reference temperature for the two thermopiles in

the cold wall. The thermocouples and thermopiles were uniformly

spaced and embedded inside the channel walls to within approximately 1.6 mm (1/16 in.) of the surface. The thermocouples were

calibrated with thermometers traceable to national standards and

the thermopiles were checked against the NIST standard tables.

The plates were measured to be isothermal to within 0.2 C. In

order to prevent air entrainment, optical windows or acrylic panels

were mounted to the sides of the experimental model. The experimental model was placed in a smoke room during the experiments where no drafts or outside ventilation could disturb the flow

pattern inside the vertical channel.

2.2 Flow Visualization. Flow visualization was conducted to

observe the streamlines between the two vertical channel walls. A

plane laser sheet produced by a cylindrical lens introduced from

the top of the vertical channel was used to illuminate the smoke in

a cross section of the model. The smoke was sulfuric acid aerosol,

generated using a Drager tube, which was blown through hoses to

the experimental model from outside the smoke room. The smoke

was introduced slowly into the top and bottom of the vertical

channel and allowed to settle for a few seconds before an image

was captured. The flow was observed to be steady for the two

DSLR camera to show the streamlines inside the channel.

channel average Nusselt number was calculated from

Nu

2.3 Laser Interferometry. A 200 mm diameter beam MachZehnder Interferometer was used to obtain temperature field

measurements. A 15 mW helium-neon laser was used in a standard MZI as described in Goldstein [15]. The interferometer has

two settings: infinite fringe mode and finite fringe mode. The infinite fringe setting was used for temperature field visualization,

because a line of constant fringe shift is an isotherm in this mode.

The finite fringe mode was used for the heat transfer measurements. For steady cases, the interferogram was photographed with

a high resolution (39 megapixels) still image camera and for the

unsteady cases, a high speed digital movie camera was used.

The local Nusselt numbers on each channel wall were determined using the gradient measurement technique as described by

Poulad et al. [16]. The temperature gradient at the cold surface

was calculated using

Rk0 TS2 @e

@T

(9)

@x x0 WPG @xx0

where R is the gas constant, k0 is the wavelength of the laser light

in a vacuum, Ts is the absolute surface temperature (in this case,

Ts TC), P is the absolute pressure and G is the Gladstone-Dale

constant. (It should be noted that R 287 J/kg K for air,

k0 632.8 nm for a helium-neon laser, and G 0.226 103 m3/

kg for a helium-neon laser in air.) The fringe gradient normal to

the measurement surface, @e=@xjx0 , was extracted from the finite

fringe interferograms using a custom MATLAB [17] image processing code developed by Poulad et al. [16]. A scan of pixel intensity was taken along a horizontal line at the y-location of interest.

A nonlinear regression technique similar to Slepicka and Cha [18]

was used to unwrap the phase from the pixel intensity data. The

pixel intensity near the surface was expressed as

Ix Iavg F sinDx x1 /

(10)

the amplitude of spatial fringe intensity, / is the phase shift, and

x1 is the location of the first pixel in the scan. Equation (10) is fit

to the extracted pixel intensity data by adjusting the four constants

iteratively until the sum squared error between the data and I(x)

was minimized. The fringe shift gradient at the surface was calculated from

@e

D

(11)

@xx0 2p

For the hot surface at x b, the temperature and fringe gradients

were similarly calculated using Eqs. (9) and (11), respectively.

Using the temperature gradient, the local heat fluxes on the cold

and hot walls of the channel were calculated using

@T

@T

and qy;H ks

(12)

qy;C ks

@x x0

@x xb

where ks is the thermal conductivity of the air at the surface temperature. The hot wall heat flux is always positive and the cold

wall heat flux is typically negative in this study. The local Nusselt

number was defined as

Nuy;C

qy;C b

qy;H b

and Nuy;H

DTk

DTk

(13)

temperature (Eq. (5)). The temperature difference was calculated

1

2L

L

Nuy;C dy

Nuy;H dy

(14)

When studying the unsteady cases, the temperature field was

three-dimensional and time dependent. The output of the MZI is

two-dimensional. So the temperature field was beam-averaged in

the z-direction. A sequence of interferograms was recorded at 30

fps for 20 s using a high-speed digital movie camera. The timeaveraged heat flux became nearly stationary after 20 s. Each interferogram was analyzed using the same custom MATLAB image

processing code developed by Poulad et al. [16] in order to obtain

the instantaneous fringe gradient. The instantaneous heat fluxes of

both the cold and hot walls were determined and then integrated

in order to obtain the time-averaged heat fluxes. The timeaveraged heat fluxes were then substituted into Eqs. (13) and (14)

in order to determine the local and average Nusselt numbers.

As with any experiment, there is uncertainty in the results. A

detailed error analysis was conducted based on the Kline and

McClintock [19] method. Consider an experimental result Y calculated from n independent variables a1, a2,,an. Each variable

has a total uncertainty of da1, da2,,dan. If the uncertainty in

each variable were given the same odds, then the uncertainty of

the result dY at these odds is

v

u n

2

uX @Y

(15)

dai

dY t

@ai

i1

Each variable has two components of uncertainty: bias error and

random error. The two types of uncertainty were combined using

a root sum square method with a 95% confidence level. Table 1

shows the typical values of the variables and their total uncertainties. The uncertainty in the air property data was estimated from

the property data scatter plots presented by Touloukian et al. [20],

Touloukian and Makita [21], and Touloukian et al. [22]. The

uncertainty in the fringe gradient is the largest source of error in

these experiments. This is due to the regression algorithm used in

the custom MATLAB image processing code and the optical

imperfections in the MZI. The estimated uncertainty in the modified Rayleigh number is 65%. The error in the local Nusselt numbers is estimated at 612%. The integration process averages out

some of the random error in the local Nusselt number data. For

this reason, the overall channel average Nusselt number is more

accurate than the individual local Nusselt number data and the

estimated uncertainty is 69%. Further information on the uncertainty analysis is given in Roeleveld [23].

Table 1 Measured

uncertainties

Parameter

Channel height

Channel width

Channel spacing

Specific heat

Dynamic viscosity

Thermal conductivity

Pressure

Surface temperature

Temperature difference

Fringe gradient

variables

Symbol

and

their

estimated

Measured value

L

264.2 mm

W

355.1 mm

b

10 mm 30 mm

cp

l

k, ks

P

747.6 mm Hg

288.0 K 310.0 K

TS

1.25 K 7.5 K

DT

@e

@xx0;xb 200 m1 1500 m1

total

Total uncertainty

60.3 mm

63.2 mm

60.1 mm

60.8%

60.5%

61%

60.2 mm Hg

60.35 K

60.10 K

610.2%

[23] has further details on the grid sensitivity study.

Aung [1] solved fully developed flow solutions analytically for

laminar free convection inside an asymmetrically heated vertical

channel. This analytical solution presents equations for both the

dimensionless velocity and temperature profiles of the fully developed flow. Figure 4 shows that the dimensionless velocity profiles

of the analytical solution and the numerical model at Ra(b/

L) 0.5 and y/L 0.5 compare favorably. Using this analytical

solution and setting dV/dx 0 at x 0, it was determined that

reverse flow starts at approximately RT 0.5 in the fully developed flow regime. At such low modified Rayleigh numbers, the

heat transfers by pure conduction, so the temperature profile is a

linear function of distance between the two channel walls. The analytical work was developed for asymmetrically heated vertical

channels with positive temperature ratios (0 RT 1), but this

graph shows that this analytical solution also applies for negative

temperature ratios (1 < RT < 0). Further numerical validation

against the current experimental data will be presented in Sec. 4.

4

Fig. 3 Boundary conditions and computational domain

Numerical Solution

heat transfer. The flow was assumed to be two-dimensional and

incompressible. At first a steady laminar solution was sought. But

convergence could not be obtained over the entire modified Rayleigh number range of interest. For the higher modified Rayleigh

numbers, a standard k-e turbulence model was used with enhanced

wall functions. Walsh and Leong [24] have shown that the

enhanced wall functions give better results for free convection on

a vertical wall. The standard governing equations used are given

in Versteeg and Malalasekera [25]. A control-volume formulation

with a second-order upwind scheme for evaluation of the convective terms, the PRESTO option [26], and the SIMPLEC algorithm

[27] were used in the numerical model. The fluid properties were

assumed to be constant and viscous dissipation was neglected in

the energy equation. The Boussinesq approximation was used to

account for variation in fluid density due to temperature variation.

For this study, the Prandtl number was fixed at 0.71, since the

fluid of interest was air.

The domain of the numerical model and the boundary conditions are shown in Fig. 3. No slip and impermeability conditions

were applied to the walls. An adiabatic boundary condition was

used on the horizontal surfaces near the inlet and outlet of the

channel. This is the typical treatment from the literature (Naylor

et al. [8]). Above and below the channel, two pre-entry plenums

were added to set the outflow conditions with higher accuracy

because the air temperature will approach ambient temperature far

away from the channel. A pressure outlet condition was applied to

the semicircular inlet and outlet boundaries, where the fluid velocity was set normal to the boundary and the pressure defect was set

to zero. A pressure outlet condition was needed in order to allow

air to enter and exit the domain at either end of the channel due to

the opposing buoyancy forces.

A grid sensitivity study was conducted to ensure that the numerical solution was grid independent. Both grid density and farfield boundary conditions were tested. Using the same size domain, three different grid densities were tested. A grid of approximately 50,000 nodes was determined to be sufficient. The average

Nusselt numbers are estimated to be grid independent to better

than 0.7% using the Richardson extrapolation [28]. By adjusting

the radius B shown in Fig. 3, the sensitivity of the results to the

far field boundary location was tested. The radius B 5b was

Experimental Results

for two different temperature ratios of RT 0.5 and RT 0.75

at an aspect ratio of A 17.6. Figure 5 shows the streamlines for

RT 0.5 at A 17.6 with Ra(b/L) 67.5. A sketch is included

in Fig. 5(b) to show the observed streamlines. The flow was

observed to be steady. In this case, on the hot wall side of the

channel, air flowed in the bottom of the channel and out the top of

the channel. On the cold wall side of the channel, air entered from

the top and flowed to near the bottom of the channel. A separation

point was located at approximately y/L 0.07 where the air flowing down the cold wall reversed direction with the air flowing up

the hot wall inside the channel. Figure 5(a) shows the separation

point with a line of smoke, which separates the air flowing up the

hot wall and the air flowing up the channel from the cold wall after reversing direction. There was also some smoke separating the

opposing flow from the cold wall in the upper half of the channel

where there was slow air flow. The flow pattern in this case was

similar to what was observed by Sparrow et al. [29] when studying a vertical channel with the hot wall isothermally heated and

the cold wall unheated (RT 0). They observed that in a channel

with an aspect ratio of 15.2 at Ra(b/L) 5270, some ambient air

flowed down about 25% of the cold wall and then re-circulated

with the air flowing up the hot wall.

Figure 5(c) shows the streamlines from the numerical model. It

can be seen that the experimental and numerically predicted

streamline patterns agree qualitatively, with the separation point

located in a similar location. An area of interest is at the top of the

channel, where the air is exiting the channel. The experimental

Fig. 4 Comparison of dimensionless velocity profiles at various temperature ratios for fully developed flow at y/L 5 0.5 and

Ra(b/L) 5 0.5 obtained from the numerical model and the analytical solution by Aung [1]

patterns, and (c) numerical solution streamlines for RT 5 20.5,

A 5 17.6 and Ra(b/L) 5 67.5

away from the centerline of the channel towards the hot wall side

as it exits the channel. The numerical results show the plume exiting straight upwards, which differs from the flow visualization.

Figure 6 shows the case of RT 0.75 at A 17.6, with Ra(b/

L) 23.1. Figure 6(b) shows a sketch of the observed flow pattern. Again the flow was observed to be steady. Similar to the previous case, air flowed up the hot wall side of the channel and

down the cold wall side of the channel. But in this case, there was

a closed recirculation cell in the center of the channel. Near the

cold wall, the air flowed out the bottom of the channel and there

was no separation point. It should also be noted that the cell was

off center from the vertical centerline of the channel due to the

upwards buoyancy force from the hot wall being stronger than the

downwards buoyancy force from the cold wall. As the temperature ratio was decreased, less air flowed out the top of the channel,

but more air flowed out the bottom of the channel due to the

increasing negative buoyancy force. The numerical streamlines

are shown in Fig. 6(c). Again, the experimental and numerically

predicted streamline patterns agree qualitatively. Also, the plume

bends towards the hot wall as it exits the channel, unlike the numerical prediction.

4.2 Laser Interferometry. A MZI was used to obtain interferograms for three different temperature ratios (RT 0, 0.5,

patterns, and (c) numerical solution streamlines for RT 5 20.75,

A 5 17.6 and Ra(b/L) 5 23.1

and 8.8). This provided data over a modified Rayleigh number

range of 4.7 < Ra(b/L) < 1084. Figure 7 shows three infinite

fringe interferograms at a channel aspect ratio of A 17.6 at the

three different RT values. There are six horizontal pins that are

visible on each channel wall. These small pins were used for laser

alignment and image locating purposes and have no significant

impact on the convection. All of these three cases were observed

to be steady. At RT 0, a developing thermal boundary layer can

be seen on the hot wall over the full length of the channel. As RT

becomes negative, it can be seen that the boundary layer nature of

the temperature field quickly diminishes and the heat transfer in

the center region of the channel becomes increasingly conduction

dominated. This is evident from the more evenly spaced isotherms

in the interferograms. Similar to what was observed with flow

temperature ratios

plume of warm air bends abruptly away from the centerline of the

channel.

Figure 8 shows two interferograms at RT 0.5 at two different aspect ratios. These two interferograms along with Fig. 7(b)

show the effect of modified Rayleigh number on the temperature

field. In Fig. 8(a), the modified Rayleigh number is low (near the

fully developed limit) and the temperature field appears to be

almost pure conduction over much of the channel length. In Fig.

8(c), the modified Rayleigh number is much higher and thermal

boundary layers can be seen on both walls. It can be seen that the

fringes are wavy in the center region near the top of the channel.

In fact, the temperature field was observed to be unsteady at this

location for this case. It is interesting to note that compared to a

channel with unidirectional buoyancy, the flow in a channel with

strongly opposing buoyancy forces becomes unsteady at a much

lower modified Rayleigh number. The experimental results of

Aung et al. [3] and Sparrow et al. [29] show that a vertical channel

with positive temperature ratios (RT > 0) remains steady and laminar up to Ra(b/L) 104, whereas the current flows are unstable at

Ra(b/L) 214 for RT 0.5 and Ra(b/L) 76.6 for RT 0.75.

Figures 8(b) and 8(d) provide the ability to compare between

the numerically predicted isotherms and the interferograms for

these two cases. Overall, there is good agreement between the

steady laminar numerical isotherms and the interferograms. However, some disagreement can be seen at the top of the channel.

Once again, the plume of air leaving the channel bends towards

the hot wall side in the interferograms, which is not predicted

isotherms at RT 5 20.5 for different aspect ratios

horizontal surfaces at the entrance and exit region of the channel

are not perfectly adiabatic, as they were assumed to be in the numerical model. A test was conducted to check if this difference in

the temperature boundary condition on the horizontal surfaces

was the cause of the poorly predicted outlet flows. Using a user

defined function in ANSYS FLUENT, numerical solutions were

obtained with a variable temperature boundary condition on these

surfaces for comparison. This variable temperature boundary condition was based on the measured surface temperature distribution

from the interferograms. When comparing the numerical results

with adiabatic and variable temperature boundary conditions, the

plume still exited the channel straight vertically and the difference

between the heat transfer rates was about 1%. Based on this testing, it appears that other issues associated with the imperfect nature of the outflow conditions on the semicircular boundaries are

producing the discrepancy.

Figure 9 shows a comparison between the experimentally measured and numerically predicted local Nusselt number distributions

for RT 0.5 with A 26.4 and Ra(b/L) 12.3. These results

correspond to the interferogram in Fig. 8(a). For comparison, the

Nusselt numbers corresponding to one-dimensional pure conduction between the walls were added to this graph. Figure 9 shows

that the local heat transfer rate corresponds to essentially pure

conduction for the top three quarters of the channel. It can also be

seen that the laminar CFD solution shows good agreement with

the experimental data except for on the hot wall near the bottom

of the channel. For the bottom 25% of the hot wall the CFD prediction was 15% higher than the experimental data. This slight

difference is due to the nonadiabatic horizontal walls in the

vertical distance for RT 5 20.5, A 5 26.4, and Ra(b/L) 5 12.3

vertical distance for RT 5 20.5, A 5 8.8, and Ra(b/L) 5 1084

numbers from the experiment, numerical predictions and the

Raithby and Hollands [5] correlation for RT 5 0

Modified

Aspect Rayleigh Experimental

ratio

number

data

A

26.4

17.6

fluxes for RT 5 20.5 with A 5 8.8 at y/L 5 0.5

channel causing the measured heat flux to be slightly lower on the

hot wall near the entrance.

The flow was observed to be unsteady for RT 0.5 at A 8.8

and Ra(b/L) 1085, so an unsteady interferometric analysis was

performed with a high speed digital movie camera. Figure 10

shows typical instantaneous heat fluxes for this case. These measurements were made at y/L 0.5 on both the hot and cold walls

over a 20 s interval at a frame rate of 30 fps. The RMS fluctuation

is 10% or less for these cases and the peak to peak fluctuation is

between 20 and 30% about the mean. This graph also shows the

running time-averaged heat flux becomes nearly stationary after

20 s. The local Nusselt numbers for RT 0.5 at A 8.8 and

Ra(b/L) 1084 are shown in Fig. 11. Two CFD solutions, one

assuming laminar steady conditions and the other using a turbulence model, were added to the graph for comparison. It can be

seen that the turbulent CFD solution shows better agreement than

the steady laminar solution with the experimental data near the

top of the channel. Again, there was preheating of the air at the

bottom of the channel. An area of interest is near the top of the

channel, where both the hot and cold walls show some discrepancy with the numerical solutions. As previously discussed, this is

most likely due to the plume bending to the hot wall side of the

channel when it exits the top of the channel. This draws air

toward the hot wall as it leaves the top of the channel, increasing

the heat transfer, while drawing air away from the cold wall,

decreasing its heat transfer. Some of the error of the cold wall

could also be from some precooling of the air as it enters the top

of the channel.

Ra(b/L)

24.8

128

(Nu)EXP

0.82

1.93

Numerical

solution

Raithby and

Hollands [5]

0.79

3.7%

0.85

3.4%

1.99

3.1%

1.93

0%

Nusselt numbers of the RT 0 case for two different aspect ratios.

The numerically predicted overall channel average Nusselt numbers are within 4% of the experimental data. Since the RT 0

case has been previously studied in the literature, the correlation

of Raithby and Hollands [5], Eq. (7), was also included in Table

2. The correlation is within about 3% of the experimental data.

The overall channel average Nusselt numbers for both the experimental data and numerical solution are compared in Table 3 for

RT 0.5 and RT 0.75. The numerical predictions presented

in this table were all solved with the steady laminar model. The

Nusselt numbers agree quite well for A 13.2, even though these

cases were observed to be unsteady experimentally. Overall, the

numerically predicted overall channel average Nusselt numbers

are within 7% of the experimental data. Table 4 shows a comparison between the results of the experimental data, the steady laminar numerical model and the steady turbulence model with the

enhanced wall functions at the higher modified Rayleigh numbers.

It should be noted that these three cases were all observed to be

unsteady experimentally. This table shows that at A 13.2, for

RT 0.5, the laminar and turbulent predictions give similar

results. But for RT 0.75, the turbulent solution shows better

agreement with the experimental data. At A 8.8, Table 4 shows

that the turbulence model has better agreement with the experimental data as the modified Rayleigh number was increased.

Numerical Results

for the following range of parameters:

A 50;

RT 0:75; 0:5;

using the numerical solutions. Both laminar and turbulent CFD

Table 3 Comparison of the overall channel average Nusselt numbers from the experiment and numerical predictions for RT 5 20.5

and 20.75

RT 0.5

RT 0.75

Aspect Ratio Modified Rayleigh number Experimental data Numerical solution Modified Rayleigh number Experimental data Numerical solution

A

26.4

17.6

13.2

Ra(b/L)

12.3

66.6

214

(Nu)EXP

0.67

2.19

3.51

(Nu)LAM Difference

0.70

3.6%

2.27

3.7%

3.53

0.6%

Ra(b/L)

4.7

22.9

76.6

(Nu)EXP

0.68

2.17

3.62

(Nu)LAM Difference

0.66

3.2%

2.27

4.6%

3.85

6.4%

Table 4 Comparison of the laminar and turbulent numerical models with the experimental data at aspect ratios of 13.2 and 8.8 for

RT 520.5 and 20.75

Temperature ratio

RT

0.75

0.5

0.5

Aspect ratio

Experimental data

A

13.2

13.2

8.8

Ra(b/L)

76.6

214

1084

(Nu)EXP

3.62

3.51

5.42

modified Rayleigh number for RT 5 20.5

for RT 0.5 and RT 0.75, respectively, at an aspect ratio of

50. Figure 12 shows that laminar results were obtained over the

range 0.1 < Ra(b/L) < 100 and turbulent results over the range

50 < Ra(b/L) < 104. Figure 13 shows laminar results over

0.1 < Ra(b/L) < 20 and turbulent results over 10 < Ra(b/L) < 104.

The air flowing down the cold wall mixes with the air flowing up

the hot wall in the center region of the channel. This shear layer

caused by the opposing buoyancy forces creates instability inside

the vertical channel which requires the use of a turbulence model

to obtain a solution at higher modified Rayleigh numbers. Based

(Nu)LAM

3.85

3.53

4.31

Difference

6.4%

0.6%

20.5%

(Nu)TUR

3.66

3.48

5.69

Difference

1.1%

0.9%

5.0%

it seems that instability inside the channel occurs at a much lower

modified Rayleigh number than when studying unidirectional

buoyancy forces. This is compared to other studies in the literature, where the flow remains steady and laminar to Ra 104 for

positive temperature ratios [3, 29].

Four experimental data points are shown in Fig. 12 and three

experimental data points are shown in Fig. 13 for comparison.

Both the laminar and turbulent solutions show good agreement

with the experimental data points. The average Nusselt number

for fully developed flow that was developed by Aung [1] given in

Eq. (6) was added to these graphs for comparison. This analytical

asymptote was developed for positive RT values. But as can be

seen in Figs. 12 and 13, the numerical solutions for negative RT

values also follow this asymptote. This asymptote will be used as

a starting point for developing a correlation for the average Nusselt number data.

modified Rayleigh number for RT 5 20.75

Semi-Empirical Correlation

A semi-empirical correlation was developed using the experimental Nusselt number data and applying the correlation method

of Churchill and Usagi [30]. A new correlation was developed

because the existing correlations in the literature were unable to

accurately predict the heat transfer of the negative temperature ratio cases. It can be seen in Figs. 12 and 13 that the Nusselt number

approaches asymptotes at low and high modified Rayleigh numbers. As discussed Sec. 5, at low modified Rayleigh numbers the

data follows the fully developed flow Nusselt number asymptote

that was developed by Aung [1]. This asymptote is given in Eq.

(6). At high modified Rayleigh numbers, the Nusselt number follows the vertical isothermal flat plate asymptote. An expression

for the vertical isothermal flat plate Nusselt number asymptote

was determined to be

NuIP C

2

1 RT

n1

1 jRT jn RT Rab=Ln

(17)

This expression was obtained by combining the standard expression for the average Nusselt number for free convection from two

vertical isothermal plates into an overall Nusselt number for the

channel (see Appendix). These two asymptotes are then used with

the correlation method of Churchill and Usagi [30] as follows:

Nu

Nufd

m

NuIP m

(18)

G

I

Iavg

k

ks

RT 5 20.5 and RT 5 20.75 with the experimental and numerical

data

These constants have been adjusted to minimize the sum-squared

percent error between the experimental data and the semiempirical correlation. Figure 14 shows the correlation and the experimental data plotted on the same graph. Since there was no experimental data available at high modified Rayleigh numbers,

some numerical predictions were used as can be seen in Fig. 14.

This was necessary in order to adjust the constants C and n properly for the upper asymptote. The maximum error between the

data and the correlation is 610% and the standard deviation is

64%. It should be noted that this correlation has been developed

to be applicable for temperature ratios in the range 1 < RT 1.

For positive temperature ratios, it is comparable to the correlation

of Raithby and Hollands [5]. Note that this correlation does not

apply for the antisymmetrical case RT 1. This special case has

been recently studied by Roeleveld et al. [13].

L

Nu

Nufd

NuIP

Nuy

P

Pr

q

qy

R

Ra(b/L)

RT

T

DT

W

u, v

V

x, y

x1

pixel intensity

average pixel intensity

fluid thermal conductivity at film temperature, W/mK

fluid thermal conductivity at surface temperature, W/

mK

channel height, m

overall channel average Nusselt number

fully developed flow Nusselt number

vertical isothermal flat plate Nusselt number

local Nusselt number

pressure, Pa

Prandtl number

convective heat flux, W/m2

local convective heat flux, W/m2

gas constant, J/kgK

modified Rayleigh number

temperature ratio

temperature, K

characteristic temperature difference, K

channel width, m

fluid velocity in x, y-direction, m/s

dimensionless y-velocity, b2 vq Pr=LlRab=L

Cartesian coordinate system, m

location of first pixel, m

Greek Symbols

b

e

k0

l

q

/

fringe shift

laser light wavelength in a vacuum, m

fluid dynamic viscosity, Ns/m2

fluid density, kg/m3

phase shift

Subscripts

7

Conclusions

Free convective heat transfer rates in an asymmetrically, isothermally heated vertical channel with opposing buoyancy forces were

determined using laser interferometry. Some flow visualization was

also conducted to determine the streamlines inside the channel. As

the temperature ratio was decreased, the opposing buoyancy forces

caused the flow to become unstable at lower modified Rayleigh

numbers. Both steady and turbulent numerical models were developed to obtain solutions for a wide range of modified Rayleigh

numbers at various temperature ratios. The opposing buoyancy

forces produced instability inside the channel and in general, a k-e

turbulence model with enhanced wall functions showed good

agreement for this type of flow at higher modified Rayleigh numbers. A correlation for the overall channel average Nusselt number

has been obtained based on the asymptotic behavior at high and

low values of modified Rayleigh number.

C

H

s

1

Appendix

An isolated flat plate asymptote was developed for use in the

semi-empirical correlation at high Rayleigh numbers. If the channel

is comprised of two isolated flat plates, the heat flux of each plate is

qH hH TH T1 and qC hC TC T1

(A1)

NuH

Acknowledgment

This work was funded in part by the Canadian Solar Buildings

Research Network under the Strategic Network Grants Program

of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

of Canada.

cold wall

hot wall

surface

ambient

hH L

hC L

CRanL;jTH T1 j and NuC

CRanL;jTC T1 j

k

k

(A2)

(A2). Since TH T1 is always positive, the absolute value can be

dropped. This is substituted into Eq. (4):

hH TH T1 hC TC T1 b

2kDT

1

TH T1

TC T1 b

n

CRanL;jTC T1 j

CRaL;TH T1

2

L

DT

DT

(A3)

Nu

Nomenclature

A

B

b

D

F

g

aspect ratio

channel inlet and outlet domain size, m

channel spacing, m

amplitude of spatial fringe intensity

rate of change of phase shift, m1

gravity, m/s2

The Rayleigh numbers need to be converted to the common characteristic temperature difference, DT:

RanL;DT

TH T1

DT

n

jT C T 1 j

DT

n

(A4)

This Rayleigh number can then be converted to the modified Rayleigh number based on the characteristic length, b:

RanL;DT Ranb;DT

n 4n

b

L

L

b

(A5)

n

n

n1

b

TH T1

b

Nu C Rab;DT

Rab;DT

L

L

DT

n

4n1

jTC T1 j

TC T1

L

b

DT

DT

(A6)

where

n1

n1

TH T1 n1

2TH T1

2

1 RT

TH T1 TC T1

DT

and

n

2jTC T1 j

jTC T1 j n TC T1

TH T1 TC T1

DT

DT

n1

2TC T1

2

jRT jn RT

(A7)

1 RT

TH T1 TC T1

NuIP C A4n1

2

1 RT

n1

1 jRT jn RT Rab=Ln

(A8)

It was determined that the effect of aspect ratio on the upper asymptote is small (since n 0.25, (A)4n1 1), so the term (A)4n1

can be neglected. Therefore the upper asymptote becomes

NuIP C

2

1 RT

n1

1 jRT jn RT Rab=Ln

(17)

References

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