In this study, the natural convection inside a fluid filled enclosure containing several solid obstructions and heated from the side is simulated numerically as to determine the effects of the solid thermal conductivity and volume-fraction. The solid obstructions are conducting, disconnected square blocks, uniformly distributed inside the enclosure. The mathematical model follows a continuum approach, with balance equations of mass, momentum and energy presented for each one of the constituents (i.e., fluid and solid) inside the enclosure. The equations are then solved numerically via the finite-volume method. The effects of varying the solid-fluid thermal conductivity ratio (K), the fluid volume-fraction or porosity (φ), the number of solid blocks (N) and the heating strength (represented by the Rayleigh number, Ra) on the natural convection process inside the enclosure are investigated parametrically. The Nusselt number based on the surface-averaged heat transfer coefficient along the heated wall is chosen to characterize the convection strength inside the enclosure. The results indicate a competing effect caused by the proximity of the solid blocks to the heated and cooled walls of the enclosures, vis-a`-vis hindering the boundary layer growth, hence reducing the heat transfer effectiveness, and at the same time enhancing the heat transfer when K is large. An analytical estimate of the minimum number of blocks beyond which the convection hindrance becomes predominant is presented and validated by the numerical results.

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