The present paper is devoted to clarify the effect of buoyancy on the flow and heat transfer of supercritical pressure water flowing in horizontal pipes at supercritical pressures. A series of experiments have been designed and carried out in Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China to obtain data in relation to flow and heat transfer of supercritical pressure water in pipes with different arrangements. The experimental parameters are as follows: pressures ranging from 23 to 28MPa, heat flux being up to 600 kW/m2, and the fluid mass fluxes being in the range from 100 to 1000kg/(m2s). In this study, distributions of the local wall temperatures and the local heat transfer coefficients around the circumference of the tube are measured at different cross-sections along the flowing direction. On the basis of the experimental data obtained in the study, some criteria available in open literatures, including Gr/Re2.7, Gr/Re2, and Grq/Grth, are employed to estimate the magnitude of buoyancy and the effect of buoyancy on the flow and heat transfer behavior of the supercritical fluid. It is showed that buoyancy is of particular importance for horizontal flows, but play significantly different role in different regions having different characteristics of the specific heat capacity. Strong buoyancy effect exists in the large specific heat region, but in the enthalpy region which is far away from the LSHR, the discrepancy between the temperature of the top wall and that of the bottom wall is small, indicating that the buoyancy effect can be negligible. Based on the present study, it was found that the criteria Grq/Grth is better than others in terms of the capability of evaluating the effect of the buoyancy on the flow and heat transfer of supercritical water.

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