High-resolution three-dimensional simulations were conducted to investigate the velocity and temperature fields in a cold cubical cavity due to natural convection induced by a centrally placed hot cylinder. Unsteady, incompressible Navier-Stokes equations were solved by using a spectral-element method for Rayleigh numbers ranging from 103 to 109. The effect of spanwise thermal boundary conditions, aspect ratio (radius of the cylinder to the side of the cavity), and spanwise temperature distribution of the inner cylinder on the velocity and thermal fields were investigated for each Rayleigh number. Results from two-dimensional calculations were compared with three-dimensional simulations. The 3D results indicate a complex flow structure in the vicinity of the spanwise walls. The results also show that the imposed thermal wall boundary condition impacts the flow and temperature fields strongly near the spanwise walls. The variation of the local Nusselt number on the cylinder surface and enclosure walls at various spanwise locations was also investigated. The local Nusselt number on the cylinder surface and enclosure walls at the cavity mid-plane (Z = 0) is close to 2D simulations for 103 ≤ Ra ≤ 108. Simulations also show a variation in the local Nusselt number, on both the cylinder surface and the enclosure walls, in the spanwise direction, for all Rayleigh numbers studied in this work. The results also indicate that if the enclosure walls are insulated in the spanwise direction (as opposed to a constant temperature), the peak Nusselt number on the enclosure surface occurs near the spanwise walls and is about 20% higher than the peak Nusselt number at the cavity mid-plane. The temporal characteristics of 3D flows are also different from 2D results for Ra > 108. These results suggest that 3D simulations would be more appropriate for flows with Ra > 108.
Aithal, S. M. (2018). Natural convection in a cubical cavity with a coaxial heated cylinder. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 118, 961–975. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2017.11.046