Natural convection is a widely occurring phenomena which has important applications in material processing, energy storage devices, electronic cooling, building ventilation etc. The concept of ‘entropy generation minimization’, which is a thermodynamic approach for optimization, may be very useful in designing efficient thermal systems. In the current study, entropy generation in steady laminar natural convection flow in a square cavity is studied with following isothermal boundary conditions: (1) Bottom wall is uniformly heated (2) Bottom wall is sinusoidally heated. The side walls are maintained cold and the top wall is maintained adiabatic. The thermal boundary condition in non-uniform heating case (case 2) is such that the dimensionless average temperature of the bottom wall is equal to that of uniform heating case (case 1). The prime objective of this work is to investigate the influence of uniform and non-uniform heating on entropy generation. The governing mass, momentum and energy equations are solved using Galerkin finite element method. Streamlines, isotherms, contour maps of entropy generation due to heat transfer and fluid friction are studied for Pr = 0.01 (molten metals) and 7 (water) in range of Ra = 103–105. Detailed analysis on the effect of uniform and non-uniform thermal boundary conditions on entropy generation due to heat transfer and fluid friction has been presented. Also, the average Bejan’s number which indicates the relative dominance of entropy generation due to heat transfer or fluid friction and the total entropy generation are studied for each case.

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