Vertical smooth surfaces are commonly used for transferring heat by natural convection. Many studies have tried altering smooth surfaces in various ways to increase heat transfer. Many of these studies fail to increase global heat transfer. The problem commonly reported is dead zones appearing just upstream and downstream obstructions that effectively decrease wall temperature gradients normal to the surface. In this study, we simulate how changes geometry of forward facing triangular roughness elements affect local and global heat transfer for isothermal plates.

We change the aspect ratio of the triangular elements from L/h = 5 to L/h = 40 at Grashof numbers of GrL = 8.0 · 104 and GrL = 6.4 · 105. In all cases the flow remains laminar. Even when accounting for the increase in surface area, we keep observing a decrease in global heat transfer compared to the smooth vertical plate. However, the results show by carefully selecting the aspect ratio and pitch distance of the triangular elements based on the Grashof number, the dead zone behind the horizontal part can be eliminated thereby significantly increasing local heat transfer. This observation could help to improve cooling of electronics with high localised heat fluxes.

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