Natural-convection cooling with oil or other fluids of high Prandtl number plays an important role in many technical applications such as transformers or other electric equipment. For design and optimization, one-dimensional (1D) flow models are of great value. A standard configuration in such models is flow between vertical parallel plates. Accurate modeling of heat transfer, buoyancy, and pressure drop for this configuration is therefore of high importance but gets challenging as the influence of buoyancy rises. For increasing ratio of Grashof to Reynolds number, the accuracy of one-dimensional models based on the locally forced-flow assumption drops. In the present work, buoyancy corrections for use in one-dimensional models are developed and verified. Based on two-dimensional (2D) simulations of buoyant flow using finite-element solver COMSOL Multiphysics, corrections are derived for the local Nusselt number, the local friction coefficient, and a parameter relating velocity-weighted and volumetric mean temperature. The corrections are expressed in terms of the ratio of local Grashof to Reynolds number and a normalized distance from the channel inlet, both readily available in a one-dimensional model. The corrections universally apply to constant wall temperature, constant wall heat flux, and mixed boundary conditions. The developed correlations are tested against two-dimensional simulations for a case of mixed boundary conditions and are found to yield high accuracy in temperature, wall heat flux, and wall shear stress. An application example of a natural-convection loop with two finned heat exchangers shows the influence on mass-flow rate and top-to-bottom temperature difference.

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