Natural convection adjacent to horizontal surfaces of circular, square, rectangular, and right triangular planforms has been studied experimentally. Electrochemical techniques were employed involving a fluid with a Schmidt number of about 2200. The results encompass a wide range of Rayleigh numbers thus providing information on both the laminar and the turbulent regimes. The data for all planforms are reduced to a single correlation in the laminar and turbulent regimes using the characteristic length, as recommended by Goldstein, Sparrow, and Jones. L* = A/p, where A is the surface area and p is the surface perimeter. The laminar data for all planforms are correlated by the expression  
Sh=0.54Ra1/4
 
(2.2×104Ra8×106)
and the data for the turbulent regime are correlated by the expression  
Sh=0.15Ra1/3
 
(8×1061.6×109)
Transition is found to occur at about Ra = 8 × 106. The present work thus significantly extends the Rayleigh number range of validity for the use of L* through the 1/4 power laminar regime into the turbulent 1/3 power regime. It also demonstrates the validity of the use of L* to correlate natural convection transfer coefficients for highly unsymmetrical planforms, which heretofore had not been demonstrated. Comparisons to analytical solutions and other experimental heat and mass transfer data are presented.
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