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Enhanced heat transport in thermal convection with suspensions of rod-like expandable particles

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 October 2021

Shi-Yuan Hu
NYU-ECNU Joint Research Institute of Physics at NYU Shanghai, Shanghai200062, China Applied Math Lab, Courant Institute, New York University, New York, NY10012, USA Department of Physics, New York University, New York, NY10003, USA
Kai-Zhe Wang
NYU-ECNU Joint Research Institute of Physics at NYU Shanghai, Shanghai200062, China Applied Math Lab, Courant Institute, New York University, New York, NY10012, USA Department of Physics, New York University, New York, NY10003, USA
Lai-Bing Jia
NYU-ECNU Joint Research Institute of Physics at NYU Shanghai, Shanghai200062, China Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, University of Strathclyde, G4 0LZGlasgow, UK
Jin-Qiang Zhong
School of Physics Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai200092, China
Jun Zhang*
NYU-ECNU Joint Research Institute of Physics at NYU Shanghai, Shanghai200062, China Applied Math Lab, Courant Institute, New York University, New York, NY10012, USA Department of Physics, New York University, New York, NY10003, USA
Email address for correspondence:


Thermal convection of fluid is a more efficient way than diffusion to carry heat from hot sources to cold places. Here, we experimentally study the Rayleigh–Bénard convection of aqueous glycerol solution in a cubic cell with suspensions of rod-like particles made of polydimethylsiloxane. The particles are inertial due to their large thermal expansion coefficient and finite sizes. The thermal expansion coefficient of the particles is three times larger than that of the background fluid. This contrast makes the suspended particles lighter than the local fluid in hot regions and heavier in cold regions. The heat transport is enhanced at relatively large Rayleigh number ($\textit {Ra}$) but reduced at small $\textit {Ra}$. We demonstrate that the increase of Nusselt number arises from the particle–boundary layer interactions: the particles act as ‘active’ mixers of the flow and temperature fields across the boundary layers.

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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Hu et al. supplementary movie

The suspended PDMS particles interact with the background turbulent flows with several forms of interactions between particles and the boundary layers highlighted.

Download Hu et al. supplementary movie(Video)
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