Convective characteristics are analyzed numerically in a rotating multipass square duct connecting with 180-deg sharp returns. Isoflux is applied to each duct wall and periodic conditions are used between the entrance and exit of a typical two-pass module. Emphasis is placed on the phenomenon of buoyancy-driven reversed flow in the serpentine duct. Predictions reveal that the radial distance from the rotational axis to the location of flow separation in the radial-outward duct decreases with increasing the Richardson number. In addition, the local buoyancy that is required to yield the radial flow reversal increases with increasing the rotation number. This buoyancy-driven reversed flow in the radial-outward duct always results in local hot spots in the cooling channels. The critical buoyancy for the initiation of flow reversal is therefore concluded for the design purpose. [S0022-1481(00)01101-4]

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