Heat transfer in rough-wall turbulent thermal convection in the ultimate regime

Research paper by Michael MacDonald, Nicholas Hutchins, Detlef Lohse, Daniel Chung

Indexed on: 30 Apr '20Published on: 04 Jul '19Published in: arXiv - Physics - Fluid Dynamics


Heat and momentum transfer in wall-bounded turbulent flow, coupled with the effects of wall-roughness, is one of the outstanding questions in turbulence research. In the standard Rayleigh-B\'enard problem for natural thermal convection, it is notoriously difficult to reach the so-called ultimate regime in which the near-wall boundary layers are turbulent. Following the analyses proposed by Kraichnan [Phys. Fluids vol 5., pp. 1374-1389 (1962)] and Grossmann & Lohse [Phys. Fluids vol. 23, pp. 045108 (2011)], we instead utilize recent direct numerical simulations of forced convection over a rough wall in a minimal channel [MacDonald, Hutchins & Chung, J. Fluid Mech. vol. 861, pp. 138--162 (2019)] to directly study these turbulent boundary layers. We focus on the heat transport (in dimensionless form, the Nusselt number $Nu$) or equivalently the heat transfer coefficient (the Stanton number $C_h$). Extending the analyses of Kraichnan and Grossmann & Lohse, we assume logarithmic temperature profiles with a roughness-induced shift to predict an effective scaling of $Nu \sim Ra^{0.42}$, where $Ra$ is the dimensionless temperature difference, corresponding to $C_h \sim Re^{-0.16}$, where $Re$ is the centerline Reynolds number. This is pronouncedly different from the skin-friction coefficient $C_f$, which in the fully rough turbulent regime is independent of $Re$, due to the dominant pressure drag. In rough-wall turbulence the absence of the analog to pressure drag in the temperature advection equation is the origin for the very different scaling properties of the heat transfer as compared to the momentum transfer. This analysis suggests that, unlike momentum transfer, the asymptotic ultimate regime, where $Nu\sim Ra^{1/2}$, will never be reached for heat transfer at finite $Ra$.