Heat transfer by natural convection in a two-dimensional rectangular enclosure fitted with partial vertical divisions is investigated experimentally. The horizontal walls of the enclosure are adiabatic while the vertical walls are maintained at different temperatures. The experiments are carried out with water, Pr ≃ 3.5, for Rayleigh numbers in the range, 2.3 × 1010 ⩽ RaL ⩽ 1.1 × 1011, and an aspect ratio, A = H/L = 1/2. The effect of the partial vertical divisions on the fluid flow and temperature fields is investigated by dye-injection flow visualization and by thermocouple probes, respectively. The effect of the partitions on the heat transfer across the enclosure is also studied and correlations for the Nusselt number as a function of RaL and partition length are generated for both conducting and non-conducting partition materials. Partial divisions are found to have a significant effect on the heat transfer; especially when the divisions are adiabatic. The results also indicate that the partial divisions may have a stabilizing effect on the laminar-transitional flow on the heated vertical walls of the enclosure.

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