Visualization of diffusion and convection heat transport in a square cavity with natural convection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, the total heatfunction equation which includes diffusion and convection transport is divided into the corresponding heatfunction equations. The superposition rule is used to obtain the mathematical definitions of diffusion and convection heatfunctions and corresponding boundary conditions. It is observed that the separate visualization of diffusion and convection heatlines provides significant information on understanding of the mechanism of heat transfer in a convective flow. The direction of the diffusion and convection heat transport as well as the strength of convection compared to the conduction in entire or in a portion of a domain can be visualized. The diffusion heatlines demonstrate a potential flow like behavior while convective heat flow rotates due to the source term of the convection heatfunction equation, similar to the rotation of fluid flow generated by fluid flow vorticity. The similarity between the streamfunction and the total heatfunction yields a concept of heat flow vorticity, Omega(t). The obtained results show that the maximum absolute value of the convection heatfunction may be an appropriate parameter for determination of the convection strength. The diffusion and convection heatfunction equations for natural convection in a differentially heated square cavity for four different length of the heated surface on the right vertical wall as s(p) = L/4, L/2, 3L/4 and L and a fixed length of the cooled surface on the right vertical wall as L/4 are obtained and corresponding heatlines are drawn. The values of the conduction heatfunction are positive while the sign of convection heatfunction values is negative for the studied cases. Based on the distribution of total heatlines, two regions are detected in the cavity, an active region with the positive values of heatlines signifying dominant conduction heat transfer and a passive region with the negative heatfunction values in where convection heat flow is dominant and heat only rotates in a closed contour pattern. The variations of average Nusselt number, average of heat flow vorticity. maximum absolute values of convection heatfunction and streamfunction at different Rayleigh numbers and lengths of the heated surface are presented. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Energy Engineering


  • Diffusion, Heatlines, Convective flow, Vorticity, Convection
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch