Thermal convection in a horizontal fluid layer with uniform volumetric energy sources

F. A. Kulacki, R. J. Goldstein

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Energy transport at Rayleigh numbers up to 675 times the critical (linear stability theory) value is measured in a layer of dilute electrolyte bounded horizontally by two rigid planes of constant and equal temperature; Joule heating by an alternating current passing horizontally through the layer provides the volumetric energy source. Horizontally averaged temperature profiles are determined optically. Mean temperature distributions are asymmetric at elevated Rayleigh numbers, the energy transport at the upper boundary being more than twice that at the lower boundary. Three regimes of flow are identified and discrete transitions in the energy transport appear to exist when the flow is turbulent. Extrapolation of the data to the conduction value of the Nusselt number yields a critical Rayleigh number which is within + 10·7% of linear theory values. No subcritical convection is observed when finite amplitude disturbances are introduced into the fluid at a Rayleigh number between the critical values predicted by the linear stability theory and energy theory respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 26 1972

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