# Chapter 9 NATURAL CONVECTION

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1 Heat and Mass Transfer: Fundamentals & Applications Fourth Edition in SI Units Yunus A. Cengel, Afshin J. Ghajar McGraw-Hill, 2011 Chapter 9 NATURAL CONVECTION PM Dr Mazlan Abdul Wahid Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Objectives Understand the physical mechanism of natural convection. Derive the governing equations of natural convection, and obtain the dimensionless Grashof number by nondimensionalizing them. Evaluate the Nusselt number for natural convection associated with vertical, horizontal, and inclined plates as well as cylinders and spheres. Examine natural convection from finned surfaces, and determine the optimum fin spacing. Analyze natural convection inside enclosures such as double-pane windows. Consider combined natural and forced convection, and assess the relative importance of each mode. 2 1

2 PHYSICAL MECHANISM OF NATURAL CONVECTION Many familiar heat transfer applications involve natural convection as the primary mechanism of heat transfer. Examples? Natural convection in gases is usually accompanied by radiation of comparable magnitude except for low-emissivity surfaces. The motion that results from the continual replacement of the heated air in the vicinity of the egg by the cooler air nearby is called a natural convection current, and the heat transfer that is enhanced as a result of this current is called natural convection heat transfer. The cooling of a boiled egg in a cooler environment by natural convection. The warming up of a cold drink in a warmer environment by natural convection. 3 Buoyancy force: The upward force exerted by a fluid on a body completely or partially immersed in it in a gravitational field. The magnitude of the buoyancy force is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body. The net vertical force acting on a body Archimedes principle: A body immersed in a fluid will experience a weight loss in an amount equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. The chimney effect that induces the upward flow of hot combustion gases through a chimney is due to the buoyancy effect. 4 2

3 Volume expansion coefficient: Variation of the density of a fluid with temperature at constant pressure. Ideal gas The coefficient of volume expansion is a measure of the change in volume of a substance with temperature at constant pressure. The larger the temperature difference between the fluid adjacent to a hot (or cold) surface and the fluid away from it, the larger the buoyancy force and the stronger the natural convection currents, and thus the higher the heat transfer rate. 5 In natural convection, no blowers are used, and therefore the flow rate cannot be controlled externally. The flow rate in this case is established by the dynamic balance of buoyancy and friction. An interferometer produces a map of interference fringes, which can be interpreted as lines of constant temperature. The smooth and parallel lines in (a) indicate that the flow is laminar, whereas the eddies and irregularities in (b) indicate that the flow is turbulent. The lines are closest near the surface, indicating a higher temperature gradient. Isotherms in natural convection over a hot plate in air. 6 3

4 EQUATION OF MOTION AND THE GRASHOF NUMBER The thickness of the boundary layer increases in the flow direction. Unlike forced convection, the fluid velocity is zero at the outer edge of the velocity boundary layer as well as at the surface of the plate. At the surface, the fluid temperature is equal to the plate temperature, and gradually decreases to the temperature of the surrounding fluid at a distance sufficiently far from the surface. In the case of cold surfaces, the shape of the velocity and temperature profiles remains the same but their direction is reversed. Typical velocity and temperature profiles for natural convection flow over a hot vertical plate at temperature T s inserted in a fluid at temperature T. 7 Derivation of the equation of motion that governs the natural convection flow in laminar boundary layer Forces acting on a differential volume element in the natural convection boundary layer over a vertical flat plate. This is the equation that governs the fluid motion in the boundary layer due to the effect of buoyancy. The momentum equation involves the temperature, and thus the momentum and energy equations must be solved simultaneously. 8 4

5 The complete set of conservation equations, continuity (Eq. 6 39), momentum (Eq. 9 13), and energy (Eq. 6 41) that govern natural convection flow over vertical isothermal plates are: Eq Eq Eq The above set of three partial differential equations can be reduced to a set of two ordinary nonlinear differential equations by the introduction of a similarity variable. But the resulting equations must still be solved along with their transforred boundary conditions numerically. 9 The Grashof Number The governing equations of natural convection and the boundary conditions can be nondimensionalized by dividing all dependent and independent variables by suitable constant quantities: Substituting them into the momentum equation and simplifying give Grashof number: Represents the natural convection effects in momentum equation. 10 5

6 11 The Grashof number provides the main criterion in determining whether the fluid flow is laminar or turbulent in natural convection. For vertical plates, the critical Grashof number is observed to be about The Grashof number Gr is a measure of the relative magnitudes of the buoyancy force and the opposing viscous force acting on the fluid. When a surface is subjected to external flow, the problem involves both natural and forced convection. The relative importance of each mode of heat transfer is determined by the value of the coefficient Gr/Re 2 : Natural convection effects are negligible if Gr/Re 2 << 1. Free convection dominates and the forced convection effects are negligible if Gr/Re 2 >> 1. Both effects are significant and must be considered if Gr/Re 2 1 (mixed convection). 12 6

7 13 NATURAL CONVECTION OVER SURFACES Natural convection heat transfer on a surface depends on the geometry of the surface as well as its orientation, the variation of temperature on the surface and the thermophysical properties of the fluid involved. With the exception of some simple cases, heat transfer relations in natural convection are based on experimental studies. Rayleigh number The constants C and n depend on the geometry of the surface and the flow regime, which is characterized by the range of the Rayleigh number. The value of n is usually 1/4 for laminar flow and 1/3 for turbulent flow. All fluid properties are to be evaluated at the film temperature T f = (T s + T )/2. Natural convection heat transfer correlations are usually expressed in terms of the Rayleigh number raised to a constant n multiplied by another constant C, both of which are determined 14 experimentally. 7

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9 Vertical Plates (q s = constant) The relations for isothermal plates in the table can also be used for plates subjected to uniform heat flux, provided that the plate midpoint temperature T L / 2 is used for T s in the evaluation of the film temperature, Rayleigh number, and the Nusselt number. Inclined Plates Natural convection flows on the upper and lower surfaces of an inclined hot plate. In the case of a hot plate in a cooler environment, convection currents are weaker on the lower surface of the hot plate, and the rate of heat transfer is lower relative to the vertical plate case. On the upper surface of a hot plate, the thickness of the boundary layer and thus the resistance to heat transfer decreases, and the rate of heat transfer increases relative to the vertical orientation. In the case of a cold plate in a warmer environment, the opposite occurs. 17 Horizontal Plates Natural convection flows on the upper and lower surfaces of a horizontal hot plate. For a hot surface in a cooler environment, the net force acts upward, forcing the heated fluid to rise. If the hot surface is facing upward, the heated fluid rises freely, inducing strong natural convection currents and thus effective heat transfer. But if the hot surface is facing downward, the plate blocks the heated fluid that tends to rise, impeding heat transfer. The opposite is true for a cold plate in a warmer environment since the net force (weight minus buoyancy force) in this case acts downward, and the cooled fluid near the plate tends to descend. Characteristic length L c = a/4 for a horizontal square surface of length a. L c = D/4 for a horizontal circular surface of diameter D. 18 9

10 Horizontal Cylinders and Spheres Natural convection flow over a horizontal hot cylinder. The boundary layer over a hot horizontal cylinder starts to develop at the bottom, increasing in thickness along the circumference, and forming a rising plume at the top. Therefore, the local Nusselt number is highest at the bottom, and lowest at the top of the cylinder when the boundary layer flow remains laminar. The opposite is true in the case of a cold horizontal cylinder in a warmer medium, and the boundary layer in this case starts to develop at the top of the cylinder and ending with a descending plume at the bottom. 19 NATURAL CONVECTION FROM FINNED SURFACES AND PCBs Natural convection flow through a channel between two isothermal vertical plates. The plates could be the fins of a finned heat sink, or the PCBs of an electronic device. The plates can be approximated as being isothermal (T s = constant) in the first case, and isoflux (q s = constant) in the second case. Boundary layers start to develop at the lower ends of opposing surfaces, and eventually merge at the midplane if the plates are vertical and sufficiently long. In this case, we will have fully developed channel flow after the merger of the boundary layers, and the natural convection flow is analyzed as channel flow. But when the plates are short or the spacing is large, the boundary layers of opposing surfaces never reach each other, and the natural convection flow on a surface is not affected by the presence of the opposing surface. In that case, the problem should be analyzed as natural convection from two independent plates in a quiescent medium

11 Natural Convection Cooling of Finned Surfaces (T s = constant) Finned surfaces of various shapes, called heat sinks, are frequently used in the cooling of electronic devices. Energy dissipated by these devices is transferred to the heat sinks by conduction and from the heat sinks to the ambient air by natural or forced convection, depending on the power dissipation requirements. Natural convection is the preferred mode of heat transfer since it involves no moving parts, like the electronic components themselves. Characteristic lengths: S is fin spacing. L is fin height. Relation for vertical isothermal parallel plates Heat sinks with (a) widely spaced and (b) closely packed fins. Widely spaced fins: Smaller surface area but higher heat transfer coefficient. Closely packed fins: Higher surface area but smaller heat transfer coefficient. There must be an optimum spacing that maximizes the natural convection heat transfer from the heat sink. 21 When the fins are essentially isothermal and the fin thickness t is small relative to the fin spacing S, the optimum fin spacing for a vertical heat sink is All fluid properties are to be evaluated at the average temperature T avg = (T s + T )/2. Various dimensions of a finned surface oriented vertically

12 Natural Convection Cooling of Vertical PCBs (q s = constant) Arrays of printed circuit boards used in electronic systems can often be modeled as parallel plates subjected to uniform heat flux. The plate temperature in this case increases with height, reaching a maximum at the upper edge of the board. Number of plates The critical surface T L that occurs at the upper edge of the plates is determined from All fluid properties are to be evaluated at the average temperature T avg = (T s + T )/2. Arrays of vertical printed circuit boards (PCBs) cooled by natural convection. 23 Mass Flow Rate through the Space between Plates The magnitude of the natural convection heat transfer is directly related to the mass flow rate of the fluid, which is established by the dynamic balance of two opposing effects: buoyancy and friction. The fins of a heat sink introduce both effects: inducing extra buoyancy as a result of the elevated temperature of the fin surfaces and slowing down the fluid by acting as an added obstacle on the flow path. As a result, increasing the number of fins on a heat sink can either enhance or reduce natural convection, depending on which effect is dominant. The buoyancy-driven fluid flow rate is established at the point where these two effects balance each other. The friction force increases as more and more solid surfaces are introduced, seriously disrupting fluid flow and heat transfer. Heat sinks with closely spaced fins are not suitable for natural convection cooling. When the heat sink involves widely spaced fins, the shroud does not introduce a significant increase in resistance to flow, and the buoyancy effects dominate. As a result, heat transfer by natural convection may improve, and at a fixed power level the heat sink may run at a lower temperature

13 NATURAL CONVECTION INSIDE ENCLOSURES Enclosures are frequently encountered in practice, and heat transfer through them is of practical interest. In a vertical enclosure, the fluid adjacent to the hotter surface rises and the fluid adjacent to the cooler one falls, setting off a rotationary motion within the enclosure that enhances heat transfer through the enclosure. Characteristic length Lc: the distance between the hot and cold surfaces. T 1 and T 2 : the temperatures of the hot and cold surfaces. Ra > 1708, natural convection currents Ra > , turbulent fluid motion Fluid properties at Nu = 1 Convective currents in a vertical rectangular enclosure. Convective currents in a horizontal enclosure with (a) hot plate at the top and (b) hot plate at the bottom. 25 Effective Thermal Conductivity Effective thermal conductivity The fluid in an enclosure behaves like a fluid whose thermal conductivity is knu as a result of convection currents. Nu = 1, the effective thermal conductivity of the enclosure is equal to the conductivity of the fluid. This case corresponds to pure conduction. A Nusselt number of 3 for an enclosure indicates that heat transfer through the enclosure by natural convection is three times that by pure conduction. Numerous correlations for the Nusselt number exist. Simple power-law type relations in the form of Nu = CRa n, where C and n are constants, are sufficiently accurate, but they are usually applicable to a narrow range of Prandtl and Rayleigh numbers and aspect ratios

14 Horizontal Rectangular Enclosures The following correlation for horizontal enclosures may also be used for liquids with moderate Prandtl numbers for Ra L < 10 5 : These correlations are for horizontal enclosures that contain air. The relations can also be used for other gases with 0.5 < Pr < 2. For water, silicone oil, and mercury When the hotter plate is at the top, Nu = 1. [ ] + only positive values to be used A horizontal rectangular enclosure with isothermal surfaces. 27 Inclined Rectangular Enclosures An inclined rectangular enclosure with isothermal surfaces

15 Vertical Rectangular Enclosures A vertical rectangular enclosure with isothermal surfaces. Again, all fluid properties are to be evaluated at the average temperature (T T 2 )/2. Concentric Cylinders The rate of heat transfer through the annular space between the cylinders by natural convection per unit length Characteristic length Geometric factor for concentric cylinders: Two concentric horizontal isothermal cylinders. For F cyl Ra L < 100, natural convection currents are negligible and thus k eff = k. Note that k eff cannot be less than k, and thus we should set k eff = k if k eff /k < 1. The fluid properties are evaluated at the average temperature of (T i + T o )/

16 Concentric Spheres Characteristic length Two concentric isothermal spheres. If k eff /k < 1, we should set k eff = k. 31 Combined Natural Convection and Radiation Gases are nearly transparent to radiation, and thus heat transfer through a gas layer is by simultaneous convection (or conduction) and radiation. Radiation is usually disregarded in forced convection problems, but it must be considered in natural convection problems that involve a gas. This is especially the case for surfaces with high emissivities. Radiation heat transfer from a surface at temperature T s surrounded by surfaces at a temperature T surr is σ = W/m 2 K 4 Stefan Boltzmann constant Radiation heat transfer between two large parallel plates is When T < T s and T surr < T s, convection and radiation heat transfers are in opposite directions and subtracted from each other

17 Summary Physical Mechanism of Natural Convection Equation of Motion and the Grashof Number Natural Convection Over Surfaces Vertical Plates (T s = constant), (q s = constant) Inclined Plates Horizontal Plates Horizontal Cylinders and Spheres Natural Convection from Finned Surfaces and PCBs Natural Convection Cooling of Finned Surfaces (T s = constant) Natural Convection Cooling of Vertical PCBs (q s = constant) Mass Flow Rate Through the Space Between Plates Natural Convection Inside Enclosures Effective Thermal Conductivity Horizontal Rectangular Enclosures Inclined Rectangular Enclosures Vertical Rectangular Enclosures Concentric Cylinders and Spheres Combined Natural Convection and Radiation 33 17

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