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Effects of polymer additives in the bulk of turbulent thermal convection

  • Yi-Chao Xie (a1), Shi-Di Huang (a1), Denis Funfschilling (a2), Xiao-Ming Li (a1), Rui Ni (a1) and Ke-Qing Xia (a1)...


We present experimental evidence that a minute amount of polymer additives can significantly enhance heat transport in the bulk region of turbulent thermal convection. The effects of polymer additives are found to be the enhancement of coherent heat fluxes and suppression of incoherent heat fluxes. The enhanced heat transport is associated with the increased coherency of thermal plumes, as a result of the suppression of small-scale turbulent fluctuations by polymers. The incoherent heat flux, arising from turbulent background fluctuations, makes no net contribution to heat transport. The fact that polymer additives can increase the coherency of thermal plumes is supported by the measurements of a number of local quantities, such as the extracted plume amplitude and width, the velocity autocorrelation functions and the velocity–temperature cross-correlation coefficient. The results from local measurements also suggest the existence of a threshold value for the polymer concentration, only above which significant modification of the plume coherent properties and enhancement of the local heat flux can be observed. Estimation of the plume emission rate suggests a stabilization of the thermal boundary layer by polymer additives.


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Present address: Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802-1412, USA.



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