Natural convective heat transfer from an isothermal vertical cylinder which has an exposed horizontal top surface has been numerically studied. The exposed upper surface is maintained at the same temperature as the cylindrical vertical wall of the cylinder. The cylinder is mounted on a flat horizontal adiabatic base plate. In some circumstances the heat transfer rate from the exposed upper surface can be neglected compared to that from the curved surface of the cylinder and in some circumstances the heat transfer rate from the curved surface can be adequately predicted using vertical flat plate equations, i.e., by ignoring curvature effects. The flow has been assumed to be axisymetric about the vertical cylinder axis. The flow has also been assumed to be steady and laminar and it has been assumed that the fluid properties are constant except for the density change with temperature which gives rise to the buoyancy forces, this having been treated by using the Boussinesq approach. The solution has been obtained by numerically solving the governing equations, these equations being written in terms of dimensionless variables, the solution being obtained using a commercial finite element method based code, FIDAP. Because of the applications that motivated this study, results have only been obtained for Pr = 0.7. A wide range of the other governing parameters have been considered. The conditions under which the heat transfer from the exposed upper surface can be neglected compared to that from the cylindrical wall in the evaluation of the mean Nusselt number has been deduced and the conditions under which curvature effects can be ignored in evaluating the mean Nusselt number for the curved surface of the cylinder have been investigated.

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