Experimental data and correlations are presented for the time scales of developing and decaying thermal convection with volumetric heating in a horizontal layer. The layer is bounded by rigid surfaces, with an insulated lower boundary and an isothermal upper boundary. The time for complete flow development/decay, as a result of a step change in volumetric heat generation, is simply parameterized in terms of the Fourier number for the layer, the step change in Rayleigh number, ΔRa, and the initial/final dimensionless maximum core temperature. For developing flows, ΔRa > 0, results are in good agreement with existing experiments and an approximate boundary layer theory. In decaying flows, Fourier numbers are larger than those of previously reported experiments for a motionless final state. Data for turbulent-to-turbulent transitions when ΔRa < 0 suggests that the approximate boundary layer theory underestimates the Fourier number. Experimental uncertainties on measured Fourier numbers are generally well within the limits of uncertainty allowed by the approximate theory.

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