In compressor inter-disc cavities with a central axial throughflow it is known that the flow and heat transfer is strongly affected by buoyancy in the centrifugal force field. As a step towards developing CFD methods for such flows, buoyancy-driven flows under gravity in a closed cube and under centrifugal force in a sealed rotating annulus have been studied. Numerical simulations are compared with the experimental results of Kirkpatrick and Bohn (1986) and Bohn et al (1993). Two different CFD codes have been used and are shown to agree for the stationary cube problem. Unsteady simulations for the stationary cube show good agreement with measurements of heat transfer, temperature fluctuations, and velocity fluctuations for Rayleigh numbers up to 2 × 1010. Similar simulations for the rotating annulus also show good agreement with measured heat transfer rates. The CFD results confirm Bohn et al’s results, showing reduced heat transfer and a different Rayleigh number dependency compared to gravity-driven flow. Large scale flow structures are found to occur, at all Rayleigh numbers considered.

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