The natural convection cooling capability in a compact item of electronic equipment was investigated quantitatively by experiment and numerical simulation with a simple channel model. The optimization of the channel sizes, especially the clearance between heated walls, was discussed. The channel model, which consists of a vertical duct of rectangular section, was applied as the experimental model of electronic equipment in this study. The channel model consists of two heated copper walls and two transparent acrylic walls. The clearance between the copper walls of the channel was varied from 5 mm to 15 mm. Temperature measurement on the copper wall surfaces and velocity measurement of natural air flow in the channel by using a particle image velocimetry (PIV) were conducted for a few clearances of the channel. Numerical simulation was also carried out, with a model following the experimental setup, for more detailed discussion of various clearances of the channel. The relationship between the clearance and the temperature rise of the walls or velocity profile was investigated. The correlation between the Rayleigh number and the Nusselt number was obtained from measured temperature. The natural cooling capability and the velocity profiles depend on the clearance between the copper walls. When the wall clearances are more than 15 mm, the cooling is not enhanced. On the other hand, in the case that the clearance becomes less than 7 mm, the cooling capability becomes significantly lower. Consequently, it is clarified that the clearance from 8 mm to 10 mm is the best size for natural cooling from the view point of the space and the capability.

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