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Natural convection from a cluster of heated horizontal cylinders

Project coordinator

Prof. Darina Murray
Email: [javascript protected email address]
Tel: +353 1 896 1129

Research Staff

Mr. Stephen Yates


Many industrial and domestic applications utilise heated horizontal cylinders. Applications include tubular heat exchangers, heating elements and electrical wires. The majority of past research has focused on the forced convective heat transfer around heated horizontal cylinders while situations involving natural convection have been investigated to a lesser extent. The research group of Prof. Darina Murray has been active in this domain for over 10 years. Recent studies have found increases in local heat transfer rates of around 40% for a pair of vertically aligned cylinders, with flow field measurements revealing interesting interactions between the convection plumes of the cylinders [1]. Although a cylinder pair is of interest, the extension of current studies to encompass a larger grouping of cylinders will provide valuable information for engineering design as well as yielding additional insight into the convective heat transfer mechanisms.

The current research being conducted investigates the influence of heating load and spacing on the heat transfer from a triangular cluster of three horizontal cylinders in different arrangements. Particular attention is paid to the interaction of the natural convection plumes from each of the cylinders. It is the interactions of the plumes that either enhance or degrade the heat transfer around each of the cylinders. By simultaneously measuring the local convective heat transfer rate and flow field (using particle image velocimetry), the interactions and their effects are examined.

[1] Persoons, T., O'Gorman, I.M., Donoghue, D.B., Byrne, G. and Murray, D.B., "Natural convection heat transfer and fluid dynamics for a pair of vertically aligned isothermal horizontal cylinders", International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 54 (2011), 5163-5172.

Funding Body

Irish Research Council