Spatial distribution of heat flux and fluctuations in turbulent Rayleigh-Bénard convection

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We numerically investigate the radial dependence of the velocity and temperature fluctuations and of the time-averaged heat flux j̅ (r) in a cylindrical Rayleigh-Bénard cell with aspect ratio Γ=1 for Rayleigh numbers Ra between 2×106 and 2×109 at a fixed Prandtl number Pr=5.2. The numerical results reveal that the heat flux close to the sidewall is larger than in the center and that, just as the global heat transport, it has an effective power law dependence on the Rayleigh number, j̅ (r)∝Raγj(r). The scaling exponent γj(r) decreases monotonically from 0.43 near the axis (r≈0) to 0.29 close to the sidewalls (r≈D/2). The effective exponents near the axis and the sidewall agree well with the measurements of Shang et al. [ Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 244503 (2008)] and the predictions of Grossmann and Lohse [ Phys. Fluids 16 1070 (2004)]. Extrapolating our results to large Rayleigh number would imply a crossover at Ra≈1015, where the heat flux near the axis would begin to dominate. In addition, we find that the local heat flux is more than twice as high at the location where warm or cold plumes go up or down than in plume depleted regions
Original languageEnglish
Article number056315
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-82347
  • METIS-289991

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