For many applications the optimisation of natural convection cooling is a major design consideration due to factors such as weight, accessibility, cost and power consumption. In aircraft wing compartments, natural convection is the dominant mode of heat transfer due to high wall temperatures resulting from solar loading and heat dissipating internal electronics. This paper investigates the flow structures in a leading edge compartment subject to various thermal boundary conditions. The experimental configuration consisted of two leading edge enclosures; the first is a single compartment while the second has an attached wing box. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) was employed to obtain velocity measurements of the flow in both leading edge enclosures. The second compartment investigated the effect of an adjacent fluid filled enclosure on the flow regime in the leading edge compartment. Higher local velocities were found in the second compartment due to an increase in buoyancy forces resulting from a lower of the average fluid temperature within the compartment. The introduction of a heat dissipating component gave rise to two separate convection structures and in general increased the fluctuations in the both temperature and velocities within the compartment.

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