This paper reports heat and fluid flow results which describe the phenomenon of natural convection in an enclosure heated and cooled along a single vertical wall. In the first part of the paper, the case where the side-heating effect is positioned above the side-cooling effect is considered. Numerical simulations and scale analysis show that the temperature field in this configuration transforms from one of incomplete vertical penetration to one of incomplete horizontal penetration depending on the values of the Rayleigh number based on the enclosure height (Ra) and the height-to-length aspect ratio of the enclosure (H/L). The heat transfer scales differ substantially from one type of penetrative convection to the other in agreement with the numerical findings. The parametric domain of validity of the conclusions of this part of the study is outlined on the H/L-Ra plane. When the heated portion of the driving side wall is positioned below the cooled portion the flow spreads throughout the cavity. This configuration results in an enhancement of the overall heat transfer through the enclosure.

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