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Transport in Porous Media

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 335–347 | Cite as

Experimental Investigation of Transient Thermal Convection in Porous Media

  • C. A. CooperEmail author
  • J. B. Crews
  • R. Schumer
  • R. J. Breitmeyer
  • H. Voepel
  • D. L. Decker
Article

Abstract

A laboratory experiment of transient thermal convection in a 1-m-high cell was conducted to compare the length and time scales of plume development to theory. The temperature field was resolved to less than 1 mm and was measured by dissolving a solution of thermochromic crystals into the water–glycerin working fluid. The time-dependent experiment was run by applying heat at the bottom boundary that eventually was \(6\,^\circ \)C above the background temperature of the fluid. After development of a thermal boundary layer, the instability became visible at 26 min, with the development of 11, 3–4 cm width plumes growing from the boundary layer. The initially rapid growth rate reached a limiting velocity of approximately 0.5 cm min\(^{-1}\), and then decelerated throughout the experiment. Plumes interacted primarily by merging together; by the end of the experiment only three plumes were present. The Nusselt number at the onset of convection was 10, although it dropped to 4 after 45 min, which would be expected of a barely unstable system.

Keywords

Rayleigh number Instability Buoyancy Density-driven flow 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Financial support for this research was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Award EAR 0309618. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments which greatly improved the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Cooper
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. B. Crews
    • 1
  • R. Schumer
    • 1
  • R. J. Breitmeyer
    • 2
  • H. Voepel
    • 1
  • D. L. Decker
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hydrologic SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geological Sciences and EngineeringUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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