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The ultimate state of convection: a unifying picture of very high Rayleigh numbers experiments

Abstract : The long-standing puzzle of diverging heat transport measurements at very high Rayleigh numbers (Ra) is addressed by a simple model based on well-known properties of classical boundary layers. The transition to the 'ultimate state' of convection in Rayleigh-Bénard cells is modeled as sub-critical transition controlled by the instability of large-scale boundary-layer eddies. These eddies are restricted in size either by the lateral wall or by the horizontal plates depending on the cell aspect ratio (in cylindrical cells, the cross-over occurs for a diameter-to-height ratio around 2 or 3). The large-scale wind known to settle across convection cells is assumed to have antagonist effects on the transition depending on its strength, leading to wind-immune, wind-hindered or wind-assisted routes to the ultimate regime. In particular winds of intermediate strength are assumed to hinder the transition by disrupting heat transfer, contrary to what is assumed in standard models. This phenomenological model is able to reconcile observations from more than a dozen of convection cells from Grenoble, Eugene, Trieste, Göttingen and Brno. In particular, it accounts for unexplained observations at high Ra, such as Prandtl number and aspect ratio dependences, great receptivity to details of the sidewall and differences in heat transfer efficiency between experiments.
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Contributeur : Philippe-Emmanuel Roche <>
Soumis le : mercredi 5 août 2020 - 02:46:24
Dernière modification le : jeudi 24 septembre 2020 - 15:42:02


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Philippe-E. Roche. The ultimate state of convection: a unifying picture of very high Rayleigh numbers experiments. New Journal of Physics, Institute of Physics: Open Access Journals, 2020, 22 (7), pp.073056. ⟨10.1088/1367-2630/ab9449⟩. ⟨hal-02911992⟩



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