Experiments were performed to investigate the axial distribution of the heat transfer coefficient downstream of an abrupt contraction in a flat rectangular duct. The contraction was created by the presence of a forward-facing step in one of the walls of the duct. The flow arriving at the step was hydrodynamically developed and isothermal. In the contracted duct, the duct wall that constituted the continuation of the step was maintained at a uniform temperature different from that of the entering flow, while the other walls were adiabatic. During the course of the experiments, the Reynolds number of the flow in the contracted duct ranged from 4000 to 24,000, while the ratio of the post-contraction to the precontraction duct heights took on values of 1 (no contraction), 0.8, 0.6, and 0.4. In the presence of the contraction, the axial distribution of the Sherwood number increased at first, attained a maximum, and then decreased monotonically to a fully developed value. In contrast, the no-contraction Sherwood number decreased monotonically and subsequently became fully developed. At a given Reynolds number, the peak Sherwood number for the contraction case was virtually independent of the contraction ratio and exceeded the largest measured Sherwood number for the no-contraction case by about a factor of two.

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