Supergravitational turbulent thermal convection

Hechuan Jiang, Xiaojue Zhu, Dongpu Wang, Sander G. Huisman, Chao Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


High-Rayleigh number convective turbulence is ubiquitous in many natural phenomena and in industries, such as atmospheric circulations, oceanic flows, flows in the fluid core of planets, and energy generations. In this work, we present a novel approach to boost the Rayleigh number in thermal convection by exploiting centrifugal acceleration and rapidly rotating a cylindrical annulus to reach an effective gravity of 60 times Earth's gravity. We show that in the regime where the Coriolis effect is strong, the scaling exponent of Nusselt number versus Rayleigh number exceeds one-third once the Rayleigh number is large enough. The convective rolls revolve in prograde direction, signifying the emergence of zonal flow. The present findings open a new avenue on the exploration of high-Rayleigh number turbulent thermal convection and will improve the understanding of the flow dynamics and heat transfer processes in geophysical and astrophysical flows and other strongly rotating systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabb8676
JournalScience advances
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020


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