The Rotatable Buoyancy Tunnel (RoBuT) at Utah State University, built for validation measurements incorporating a high level of data completeness, is described along with the results from validation data sets for forced and mixed convection. One wall of the tunnel test section is heated while the other three are transparent for optical access. All boundary conditions, including geometry, wall temperature and inflow temperature and velocity, are measured and their uncertainties are reported. The tunnel’s design is unique in that the test section can be inverted by rotating the entire facility to generate mixed convection with either buoyancy aided or buoyancy opposed flow. The RoBuT can also produce forced or natural convection, either steady or transient.
Measurements for forced and buoyancy-aided mixed convection over a vertical heated plate are described. The RoBuT allows for simultaneous measurements of velocity, wall and inlet air temperature, heat flux measurements on the heated wall, and pressure drop across the test section. The fluid velocity is measured by time-averaged particle image velocimetry (PIV). The first validation case is forced convection since this flow is well understood. Both forced and mixed convection results are compared to published correlations and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies. The CFD is steady and 3-D using as-built measurements of the geometry. Experimental wall and inlet temperatures are used for CFD boundary conditions, as well as the inlet velocity and turbulence profiles. Three research groups perform simulations with varying levels of knowledge of the experimental results.