The present study investigates experimentally and numerically the natural convection of air in square enclosures with a localized heat source from below and symmetrical cooling from the sides. The heat source was centered on the bottom wall and the study analysed the effect of the variation in the heat source length on the natural convection inside the square cavity; the length of the heat source investigated are 1/5 and 2/5 of the wall The cooling was achieved by the two vertical walls and all the other zones were adiabatic; the symmetrical cooling from the sides is expected to be an efficient cooling option while the partial heating at the lower surface simulates the electronic components such as a chip. The experimental data are obtained by measuring the temperature distribution in the air layer by the real-time and double-exposure holographic interferometry and the numerical investigation was conducted using the commercial finite volumes code Fluent 6.0. Convection was studied for Rayleigh number from 103 to 106. Different convection forms were obtained depending on Ra and on the heat source length. The Nusselt number was evaluated on the heat source surface and it showed a symmetrical form raising near the heat source borders. Graphs with relations between average Nu, Ra and the heat source length are finally presented.

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