Two and three-dimensional calculations have been performed for laminar natural convection induced by a 3 × 3 array of discrete heat sources flush-mounted to one vertical wall of a rectangular cavity whose opposite wall was isothermally cooled. Edge effects predicted by the three-dimensional model yielded local and average Nusselt numbers that exceeded those obtained from the two-dimensional model, as well as average surface temperatures that were smaller than the two-dimensional predictions. For heater aspect ratios Ahtr ≲ 3, average Nusselt numbers increased with decreasing Ahtr. However, for Ahtr ≳ 3, the two and three-dimensional predictions were within 5 percent of each other and results were approximately independent of Ahtr. In a companion paper (Heindel et al., 1995a), predictions are compared with experimental results and heat transfer correlations are developed.

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