Experiments were performed to investigate the effects of buoyancy on heat transfer characteristics of supercritical carbon dioxide in heating mode. Turbulent flows with Reynolds numbers up to 60,000, at operating pressures of 7.5, 8.1, and 10.2 MPa, were tested in a round tube. Local heat transfer coefficients were obtained from measured wall temperatures over a large set of experimental parameters that varied inlet temperature from 20 to 55°C, mass flux from 150 to 350kg/m2s, and a maximum heat flux of 65kW/m2. Horizontal, upward, and downward flows were tested to investigate the unusual heat transfer characteristics due to the effect of buoyancy and flow acceleration caused by large variation in density. In the case of upward flow, severe localized deterioration in heat transfer was observed due to reduction in the turbulent shear stress and is characterized by a sharp increase in wall temperature. In the case of downward flow, turbulent shear stress is enhanced by buoyancy forces, leading to an enhancement in heat transfer. In the case of horizontal flow, flow stratification occurred, leading to a circumferential variation in wall temperature. Thermocouples mounted 180° apart on the tube revealed that the wall temperatures on the top side are significantly higher than the bottom side of the tube. Buoyancy factor calculations for all the test cases indicated that buoyancy effects cannot be ignored even for horizontal flow at Reynolds numbers as high as 20,000. Experimentally determined Nusselt numbers are compared to existing correlations available in the literature. Existing correlations predicted the experimental data within ±30%, with maximum deviation around the pseudocritical point.

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