natural convection with high temperature gradient?
Dear CFD experts:
I recently studies a natural convection problem (air) using Boussinesq approximation. This is an enclosure sitting in room temperature (35 degree C). Inside the enclosure, the temperature drops to 6 degree C. The cover of the enclosure is made of plastics, hence, not perfectly insulated. Initially, everything is at 35 degree C. There is a cooling device (applied negative heat flux) to cool the inside of enclosure. I need to apply very small delta t to keep the solution converge at each time step. My questions are: 1. what reference temperature should I use (I used 35 degree C in my study)? 2. With high temperature gradient (29 degree C in this case), is it still a good idea to use Boussinesq approximation? 3. If not using Boussinesq approximation, then, what other alternatives there are? Thanks for any feedback! phsieh2005 
Re: natural convection with high temperature gradi
phsieh2005,
1. I think the choice of a reference temperature is rather arbitrary  it may be the one you chose, the midrange tetemperature ( (6+35)/2 in your case) or anything within the expected range. 2. The Boussinesq approximation is valid when beta*deltaT << 1, where beta is the volumetric thermal expansion coefficient and deltaT is the temperature difference. In your case, using air at near standard conditions, the ideal gas model is a good approximation for estimating beta as 1/T. Using T~300K and deltaT~30K, you get beta*deltaT ~0.1 << 1, so that the Boussinesq approximation may be used. 3. If this is not the case, you may use the ideal gas equations of state to directly calculate the density as a function of the temperature and pressure (although the latter will change little in your case, I suppose). Being myself a beginner in the natural convection area, please read my comments with some careful examination. Rami 
Re: natural convection with high temperature gradi
Boussinesq approximation is OK in this case. small delta t may be necessary because of heat extraction and natural convection combination.

Re: natural convection with high temperature gradi
Hi, Rani and Mayur,
Thanks a lot for the explanation on Boussinesq approximation! I realized that, the problem mostly lies in the coupling between heat equation and NS eq. This is a conjugate heat transfer problem that involves both solids and fluids. Heat equation and NS are coupled explicitly. Is there a way to estimate delta t in a explicitly coupled case? phsieh2005 
Re: natural convection with high temperature gradi
I don't think there is any such relation in the present case(apart from what you s/w may calculate on its own).

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