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CHAPTER 7

FREE CONVECTION
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Features and Parameters of Free Convection
(1) Driving Force.
- Requirements
(i) Gravitational field
(ii) Density change with temperature
(2) Governing Parameters. Two parameters:
(i) Grashof number
Grashof number =
2
3
) (
v
| L T T g
Gr
s
L

= (7.1)
(ii) Prandtl number
- | is the Coefficient of thermal expansion, also known as compressibility factor.
For ideal gases it is given by
T
1
= | , for ideal gas (2.21)
- Rayleigh number
o
| |

3
2
3
) ( ) ( L T T g
= Pr
L T T g
Pr Gr Ra
s s
L L

= = (7.2)
(3) Boundary Layer.
- Flow: Laminar, turbulent, or mixed.
- Boundary layer approximations are valid for . 10
4
>
x
Ra
(4) Transition from Laminar to Turbulent Flow.
- For vertical plates: transition Rayleigh number, , is
t
x
Ra
(7.3)
9
10 ~
t
x
Ra
(5) External vs. Enclosure Free Convection.
(i) External free convection: surface is immersed in infinite medium.
(ii) Enclosure free convection. Free convection takes place inside closed volumetric regions.
(6) Analytic Solutions.
- Velocity and temperature fields are coupled.
- Momentum and energy equation must be solved simultaneously.
2
7.3 Governing Equations
Approximations:
(1) Constant density, except in evaluating gravity forces.
(2) The Boussinesq approximation (relates density change to temperature change).
(3) No dissipation.
- Continuity, momentum, and energy equations are obtained from equations (2.2),
(2.29) and (2.19), respectively
0 =
c
c
+
c
c
y x
u v
(7.4)
) (
2
2
2
2
) (
1
) (
y
u
x
u
p p
x
T T g
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c

| (7.5)
) (
2
2
2
2
) (
1
y
v
x
v
p p
y y
v
v
x
v
u
c
c
+
c
c
+
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c

(7.6)
|
|
.
|

\
|
c
c
+
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
2
2
2
2
y
T
x
T
y
T
v
x
T
u o (7.7)
7.3.1 Boundary Layer Equations
- Continuity equation (7.4) is unchanged
- x-component of the Navier-Stokes equations simplifies to
( )
2
2
y
u
T
c
c
+

v T g
y
u
v
x
u
u =
c
c
+
c
c
(7.8)
- Energy equation (7.7)
2
2
y
T

y
T
v
x
T
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c
(7.9)
- (7.4), (7.8), and (7.9) contain three unknowns: u, v, and T.
- Momentum and energy are coupled.
7.4 Laminar Free Convection over a Vertical Plate: Uniform Surface Temperature
- Uniform temperature T (Fig. 7.1).
s
- Infinite fluid at temperature .

T
- Determine: velocity and temperature distribution.
7.4.1 Assumptions. Note all assumptions listed in this section.
7.4.2 Governing Equations
3
0 =
c
c
+
c
c
y
v
x
u
(7.4)
( )
2
2
y
u
T T g
y
u
v
x
u
u
c
c
+ =
c
c
+
c
c

v (7.8)
2
2
y

y
v
x
u
c
c
=
c
c
+
c
c u u u
(7.10)
where u is defined as

=
T T
T T
s
u (7.11)
7.4.3 Boundary Conditions.
Velocity:
(1) 0 ) 0 , ( = x u
(2) 0 ) 0 , ( = x v
(3) 0 ) , ( = x u
(4) 0 ) , 0 ( = y u
Temperature:
(5) 1 ) 0 , ( = x u
(6) 0 ) , ( = x u
(7) 0 ) , 0 ( = y u
7.4.4 Similarity Transformation. Introduce the similarity variable q
x
y Gr
x
4 / 1
4
|
.
|

\
|
= q (7.14)
where
2
3
) (

x T T g
Gr
s
x

=
|
(7.15)
Let
) ( ) , ( q 0 0 = y x (7.16)
q

d
d
x
Gr
u
x
v 2 = (7.20)
Continuity gives
(

=
q

q 3
) (
) 4 (
4 / 1
4 / 1
d
d
x
Gr
v
x
v
(7.21)
(7.20) and (7.21) into (7.8) and (7.10) and using (7.11) and (7.16), gives
0 2 3
2
2
2
3
3
= +
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ u
q

d
d
d
d
d
d
(7.22)
4
0 3
2
2
= +
q
u

q
u
d
d
Pr
d
d
(7.23)
Transformation of boundary conditions:
Velocity:
(1) 0
) 0 (
=
q

d
d
(2) 0 ) 0 ( =
(3) 0
) (
=

d
d
(4) 0
) (
=

d
d
Temperature:
(1) 1 ) 0 ( = u
(2) 0 ) ( = u
(3) 0 ) ( = u
- The problem is characterized by a
single parameter which is the Prandtl
number.
7.4.5 Solution.
- (7.22) and (7.23) and their
five boundary conditions are
solved numerically.
- The solution is presented
graphically in Figs. 7.2 and
7.3. Fig. 7.2 gives the
5
7.4.6 Heat Transfer Coefficient and Nusselt Number.
Fouriers law and Newtons law:

c
c

=
T T
y
x T
k
h
s
) 0 , (
(7.24)
Express in terms of u and q
y d
d
d
dT
T T
k
h
s
c
c

q
q
u
u
) 0 (
Use(7.11) and (7.14)
q
u
d
d Gr
x
k
h
x
) 0 (
4
4 / 1
(

= (7.25)
Local Nusselt number
q
u
d
d Gr
k
hx
Nu
x
x
) 0 (
4
4 / 1
(

= = (7.26)
Average h
Table 7.1 [1,2]
)
=
L
dx x h
L
h
0
) (
1
0.01
1000 3.9660
(2.50)
(7.25) into (2.50), and performing the integration
q
u
d
d Gr
L
k
h
L
) 0 (
4 3
4
4 / 1
|
.
|

\
|
= (7.27)
Average Nusselt number is
q
u
d
) 0 ( d Gr
k
L h
Nu
L
L
4 3
4
4 / 1
|
.
|

\
|
= = (7.28)
- Solution depends on a single parameter which is the
Prandtl number.
- Numerical solution gives
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
, listed in Table 7.1.
Special Cases
- Very small and very large Prandtl numbers:
, (7.29a)
1/4
) ( 600 . 0
x x
Ra Pr Nu =
1/4
) ( 503 . 0
x x
r G Pr Nu =
0 Pr
, Pr (7.29b)
7.5 Laminar Free Convection over a Vertical Plate: Uniform
Surface Heat Flux
- Assumptions: Same as constant temperature plate.
0.72 0.5045
0.733
0.0806 0.9862
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
2
2
) 0 (
q

d
d
_
Pr
0.03 0.136
0.09 0.219
0.508
0.676
0.6741
1.0 0.5671 0.6421
10
100
0.7165 0.5713
1.1649
0.4192
2.191 0.2517
0.1450
0.5 0.442
1.5 0.6515
2.0
0.8558
3.5
5.0 0.954
7.0
1.0542
6
- Surface boundary conditions
s
q
y
x T
k ' ' =
c
c

) 0 , (
(7.30)
- Surface flux is specified.
- Determine: Surface temperature and local Nusselt number ) (x T
s
.
x
Nu
- Solution by similarity transformation.
Solution:
- Surface temperature
) 0 (
) (
5 ) (
5 / 1
4
4 2
u
|
(
(

' '
=

x
k g
q
T x T
s
s

(7.31)
- Local Nusselt number
) 0 (
1
5
u
5
/ 1
4
2
|
(
(

' '
= x
k
q g
Nu
s
x

(7.32)
Pr
) 0 ( u
0.1
1.0
- ) 0 ( u is a dimensionless parameter which depends on the
Prandtl number and is given in Table 7.2 .
- Correlation equation for ) 0 ( u
10
100
-
-
- 2.7507
- 1.3574
0.76746
0.46566
Table 7.2 
5 / 1
10
(
(

(
Pr
2
2 / 1
5
9 4
) 0 (

+ +
=
Pr
Pr
u 1000 001 . , 0 < < Pr
| | 2 / ) 2 / (L T T T
s f
+ =

(7.33)
Properties at the film temperature T
f
7.34)
7.6 Inclined Plates
- Vertical plate solutions of Sections 7.4 and 7.5 apply
to inclined plates, with g replaced by u cos g .
- This approach is recommended for . 60
o
s u
7.7 Integral Method
7.7.1 Integral Formulation of Conservation of Momentum
- Assume:
t
o = (a) o
7
- Application of the momentum theorem in the x-direction to the element dx o , Fig.
7.6
) in ( ) out (
x x x
M M F =
_
(b)
dx o is enlarged in Fig. 7.7
dx
dy
dx
o
t
x
M
dx
dx
dM
M
x
x
+
o p
dx p
dx
d
p ) ( o o +
o d dp p ) 2 / ( + gdxdy
7.7 Fig.
dW
( )
x
x
x o
M dx
dx
dM
M dx dx p
dx
d
p d
dp
p p |
.
|

\
|
+ = |
.
|

\
|
+ + t o o o o
2
(c)
Simplify
dx
dx
dM
dW dx dp
x
o
= t o (d)
Wall shearing stress
( )
y
x u
o
c
c
=
0 ,
t (e)
Weight of element
)
=
o

0
dy g dx dW (f)
The x-momentum of the fluid entering element
)
=
) (
0
2
x
x
dy u M
o
(g)
(e), (f) and (g) into (d)
( )
dy u
dx
d
gdy
dx
dp
y
x u
) )
=
c
c

o o
o
0
2
0
0 ,
(h)
Combine pressure and gravity terms
g
dx
dp
dx
dp

= ~ (i)
8
Multiply by o and rewrite as integral
gdy g
dx
dp
)

= =
o
o o
0
(j)
(j) into (h)
( )
dy u
dx
d
dy g
y
x u
2
0 0
) (
0 ,
) )
= +
c
c

o o
(k)
Express density difference in terms of temperature change
) (

= T T | (2.28)
(2.28) into (k)
dy u
dx
d
dy T T g
y
x u
) )
= +
c
c

o o
|
0
2
0
) (
) 0 , (
(7.35)
- (7.35) applies to laminar as well as turbulent flow.
7.7.2 Integral Formulation of Conservation of Energy
Assume:
(1) No changes in kinetic and potential energy
(2) Negligible axial conduction
(3) Negligible dissipation
(4) Properties are constant
- Forced convection formulation of conservation of energy, (5.7), is applicable to free
convection
( )
)

=
c
c

) (
0
) (
0 ,
x
dy T T u
dx
d
y
x T
o
o (7.36)
7.7.3 Integral Solution
- Vertical plate, Fig. 7.6.
- Uniform surface temperature .
s
T
- We assumed
t
o o ~ . Thus we have two equations, (7.35) and (7.36) for the
determination of a single unknown . o
- Since both (7.35) and (7.36) must be satisfied, we introduce another unknown as
follows:
Assumed Velocity Profile:
( )
3
3
2
2 1 0
) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( , y x a y x a y x a x a y x u + + + = (a)
- Boundary conditions on the velocity
(1) 0 ) 0 , ( = x u
(2) 0 ) , ( ~ o x u
9
(3) 0
) , (
~
c
c
y
x u o
(4) ) (
) 0 , (
2
2

=
c
c
T T
g
y
x u
s
v
|
- Applying the four boundary conditions gives . Equation (a) becomes
n
a
2
2
1
4
) (
(

o o
o
| y y T T g
u
s

(b)
Let
(

=
2
4
) (
) ( o
|

T T g
x u
s
o
(c)
(b) becomes
2
1 ) (
(

=
o o
y y
x u u
o
(7.37)
- Treat as the second unknown function, independent of ) (x u
o
. o
Assumed Temperature Profile:
2
2 1 0
) ( ) ( ) ( ) , ( y x b y x b x b y x T + + = (d)
The boundary conditions are
(1)
s
T x T = ) 0 , (
(2)

~ T x T ) , ( o
(3) 0
) , (
~
c
c
y
x T o
Application of the above boundary conditions gives
2
1 ) ( ) , (
(

+ =

o
y
T T T y x T
s
(7.38)
Heat Transfer Coefficient and Nusselt Number

c
c

=
T T
y
x T
k
h
s
) 0 , (
(7.24)
(7.38) into (7.24)
) (
2
x
k
h
o
= (7.39)
Thus the local Nusselt number is
) (
2
x
x
k
hx
Nu
x
o
= = (7.40)
- Must find and and ) (x u
o
). (x o
10
Solution
(7.37) and (7.38) into (7.35)

=
(

+
) )

dy
y
y
u
dx
d
dy
y
T T g
u
o o
s
o o
o o o
|
o
0
4
2
2
2
0
2
1 1 ) ( (e)
Evaluate the integrals
| | ( )

u
T T g u
dx
d
o
o s
=

3
1
105
1
2
(7.41)
(7.37) and (7.38) into (7.36)

=
)

) (
0
4
1 ) (
1
) ( 2
x
dy
y
y
u
dx
d
T T T T
o
s s
o
o o o
o
(f)
Evaluate the integrals
| |
o
o o
1
60
1
=
o
u
dx
d
(7.42)
- (7.41) and (7.42) are two equation for ) (x o and ). (x u
o
- Assume a solution of the form
m
o
Ax x u = ) ( (7.43)
n
Bx x = ) ( o (7.44)
- A, B, m and n are constants.
- substitute (7.43) and (7.44) into (7.41) and (7.42)
( )
n m n
o
n m
x
B
A
Bx T T g Bx A
n m

+
=
+
v |
3
1
105
2
1 2 2
(7.45)
n n m
x
B
ABx
n m
+
=
+ 1
210
1
o (7.46)
- Exponents in each equation must be identical. Thus
n m n n m = = + 1 2 (g)
n n m = + 1 (h)
- Solve (g) and (h) for m and n gives
2
1
= m ,
4
1
= n (i)
- (i) into (7.45) and (7.46) gives A and B
2 / 1
2
2 / 1
) (
21
20
17 . 5
(

+ =

v
v
T T g
Pr A
s
|
(l)
and
11
4 / 1
2
4 / 1
1/2 -
) (
21
20
93 . 3

|
.
|

\
|
+ =
v
T T g
Pr Pr B
s
|
(m)
(i) and (m) into (7.44)
4 / 1
4 / 1
) ( 1
1
21
20
93 . 3

+ =
x
Ra
Pr x
o
(7.47)
(7.47) into (7.40)
4 / 1
4 / 1
) ( 1
1
21
20
508 . 0
x x
Ra
Pr
Nu

+ = (7.48)
7.7.4 Comparison with Exact Solution for Nusselt Number
- (7.26) is the exact solution to the local Nusselt number
q
u
d
d Gr
Nu
x
x
) 0 (
4
4 / 1
(

= (7.26)
- Rewrite (7.26) as
q
u
d
d
Nu
Gr
x
x
) 0 (
4
4 / 1
=
(

(7.49)
- Rewrite (7.48)
4 / 1
4 / 1 4 / 1
) 4 ( 1
1
21
20
508 . 0
4
Pr
Pr
Nu
Gr
x
x

(

+ =
(

(7.50)
- The right hand side of (7.49) and (7.50) are
compared in Table 7.3.
- The exact solution for 0 Pr
1/4
exact
) ( 600 . 0
x x
Ra Pr Nu = 0 Pr , (7.29a)
- Applying integral solution (7.47) to 0 Pr
4 / 1
integral
) ( 514 . 0
x x
Ra Pr Nu = 0 Pr , (7.51a)
- Exact and integral solutions for Pr are
1/4
exact
) ( 503 . 0
x x
Ra Nu = , Pr (7.29b)
4 / 1
integral
) ( 508 . 0
x x
Ra Nu = , Pr (7.51b)
NOTE: The error ranges from 1% for Pr to
14% for . 0 Pr
0.01
1000 3.9660
0.72 0.5045
0.733
0.0806
q
u
d
d ) 0 (
_
0.508
1.0 0.5671
10
100
0.7165
1.1649
2.191
Pr
1/4
4 / 1
) 4 ( 1
1
21
20
508 . 0 Pr
Pr

+
7.3 Table
0.0725
0.03 0.136 0.1250
0.09 0.219 0.213 0.2133
0.5 0.442 0.4627
0.5361
0.5399
0.6078
1.5 0.6515 0.7031
2.0 0.7751
3.5
5.0
7.0
0.8558
0.954
1.0542
0.9253
1.0285
1.1319
1.2488
2.2665
4.0390