A Mach-Zehnder interferometer was employed to determine the three-dimensional temperature field, and the circumferential and average Nusselt numbers for laminar flow of air in the entrance region of an isothermal horizontal tube where the velocity and the temperature profiles were developing simultaneously. The influence of free convection due to buoyancy on forced convection heat transfer was investigated. The Reynolds numbers ranged from 120 to 1200, the Grashof numbers ranged from 0.8 × 104 to 8.7 × 104, and the ratio L/D was varied from 6 to 46. The free convection increases, substantially, the average Nusselt number, by up to a factor of 2.0 from the analytical predictions, which account for forced convection only, near the tube inlet. Far from the tube inlet the free convection tends to decrease the average Nusselt number below the analytical predictions.

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