Experiments in Fluids

, 59:171 | Cite as

Assessment of horizontal velocity fields in square thermal convection cells with large aspect ratio

  • Christian KästnerEmail author
  • Christian Resagk
  • Jasper Westphalen
  • Manuela Junghähnel
  • Christian Cierpka
  • Jörg Schumacher
Research Article


Transparent heating plates, consisting of glass coated with a transparent conductive metal oxide, are applied in large aspect ratio turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection (RBC) to investigate the large-scale patterns of velocity fields with optical flow measurement techniques across the whole horizontal cross section. The square convection cell with an aspect ratio Γ = L/h = 10 was tested inside the scaled convective airflow laboratory experiment (SCALEX) facility which enables experiments with gases as working fluids for pressures of up to 10 bar to achieve very high Rayleigh numbers Ra. For the current study, Ra = 2 × 104 was applied. The velocity fields are measured with 2D3C particle image velocimetry (PIV). The possibility of reliable PIV measurements with reproducible homogenous temperature boundary conditions was demonstrated in the SCALEX facility. The seeding of the tracer particles, their illumination and data evaluation are addressed in detail. The final comparison of experimental data and numerical simulations shows a good agreement for the probability density functions of the horizontal velocity components. Deviations for the vertical out-of-plane velocity component and their dependence on the thickness of the laser sheet are discussed in detail and quantified by measurements with light sheets of different thickness.

Graphical abstract



The authors acknowledge financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG under Grant no. Re 1066/17-1 and SCHU 1410/18-1, and by the Priority Programme on Turbulent Superstructures with Grant no. DFG SPP 1881. The authors are grateful to Alexander Thieme for technical support and assistance in construction of the convection experiment and the infrared and PIV measurements. The Tesla K40 used for PIV analysis was donated by the NVIDIA Corporation. Computer time was provided by Large-Scale Project pr62se of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing at the Leibniz Rechenzentrum Garching.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Thermodynamics and Fluid MechanicsTechnische Universität IlmenauIlmenauGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP DresdenDresdenGermany

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