Rotating turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection subject to harmonically forced flow reversals

Bernardus J. Geurts, Rudie P.J. Kunnen

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    The characteristics of turbulent flow in a cylindrical Rayleigh–Bénard convection cell which can be modified considerably in case rotation is included in the dynamics. By incorporating the additional effects of an Euler force, i.e., effects induced by non-constant rotation rates, a remarkably strong intensification of the heat transfer efficiency can be achieved. We consider turbulent convection at Rayleigh number Ra = $10^9$ and Prandtl number σ = 6.4 under a harmonically varying rotation, allowing complete reversals of the direction of the externally imposed rotation in the course of time. The dimensionless amplitude of the oscillation is taken as 1/$Ro^*$ = 1 while various modulation frequencies 0.1 ≤ $Ro_\omega$ ≤ 1 are applied. Both slow and fast flow-structuring and heat transfer intensification are induced due to the forced flow reversals. Depending on the magnitude of the Euler force, increases in the Nusselt number of up to 400% were observed, compared to the case of constant or no rotation. It is shown that a large thermal flow structure accumulates all along the centreline of the cylinder, which is responsible for the strongly increased heat transfer. This dynamic thermal flow structure develops quite gradually, requiring many periods of modulated flow reversals. In the course of time, the Nusselt number increases in an oscillatory fashion up to a point of global instability, after which a very rapid and striking collapse of the thermal columnar structure is seen. Following such a collapse is another, quite similar episode of gradual accumulation of the next thermal column. We perform direct numerical simulation of the incompressible Navier–Stokes equations to study this system. Both the flow structures and the corresponding heat transfer characteristics are discussed at a range of modulation frequencies. We give an overview of typical time scales of the system response.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)776-794
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of turbulence
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014


    • Direct Numerical Simulation
    • Turbulence
    • Rayleigh–Bénard convection
    • Nusselt number
    • Modulated rotation
    • EWI-25030
    • METIS-306013
    • IR-91779
    • forced flow reversals

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