An analysis has been performed to determine whether, in natural convection, a staggered array of discrete vertical plates yields enhanced heat transfer compared with an array of continuous parallel vertical plates having the same surface area. The heat transfer results were obtained by numerically solving the equations of mass, momentum, and energy for the two types of configurations. It was found that the use of discrete plates gives rise to heat transfer enhancement when the parameter (Dh/H)Ra > ∼2 × 103 (Dh = hydraulic diameter of flow passage, H = overall system height). The extent of the enhancement is increased by use of numerous shorter plates, by larger transverse interplate spacing, and by relatively short system heights. For the parameter ranges investigated, the maximum heat transfer enhancement, relative to the parallel plate case, was a factor of two. The general degree of enhancement compares favorably with that which has been obtained in forced convection systems.

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