Effect of aspect ratio on vortex distribution and heat transfer in rotating Rayleigh-Bénard convection

Richard J.A.M. Stevens, Jim Overkamp, Detlef Lohse, Herman J.H. Clercx

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Numerical and experimental data for the heat transfer as a function of the Rossby number Ro in turbulent rotating Rayleigh-Bénard convection are presented for the Prandtl number Pr=4.38 and the Rayleigh number Ra=2.91×10^8 up to Ra=4.52×109. The aspect ratio Γ≡D/L, where L is the height and D the diameter of the cylindrical sample, is varied between Γ=0.5 and 2.0. Without rotation, where the aspect ratio influences the global large-scale circulation, we see a small-aspect-ratio dependence in the Nusselt number for Ra=2.91×10^8. However, for stronger rotation, i.e., 1/Ro≫1/Ro_c, the heat transport becomes independent of the aspect ratio. We interpret this finding as follows: In the rotating regime the heat is mainly transported by vertically aligned vortices. Since the vertically aligned vortices are local, the aspect ratio has a negligible effect on the heat transport in the rotating regime. Indeed, a detailed analysis of vortex statistics shows that the fraction of the horizontal area that is covered by vortices is independent of the aspect ratio when 1/Ro≫1/Ro_c. In agreement with the results of Weiss et al. [ Phys. Rev. Lett. 105 224501 (2010)], we find a vortex-depleted area close to the sidewall. Here we show that there is also an area with enhanced vortex concentration next to the vortex-depleted edge region and that the absolute widths of both regions are independent of the aspect ratio.
Original languageEnglish
Article number056313
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • IR-78796
  • METIS-279835
  • EC Grant Agreement nr.: FP7/222919
  • EWI-21189


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