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# Solved with COMSOL Multiphysics 4.

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F r e e C onv e c t i on i n a Wa t e r Gl a s s
Introduction
This model treats free convection in a glass of water. Free convection is a phenomenon
that is often disregarded in chemical equipment. Yet, in certain circumstances it can be
of great importance, for example in fermentation processes, casting, and biochemical
reactors. Natural convection can also be the leading contributor to transport in small
reactors.
Model Definition
This example considers free convection in a glass of cold water at room temperature.
You model the flow using the Non-Isothermal Flow interface. The aim of the model
is to compute the flow pattern and the temperature distribution.
Initially, the glass and the water are both at 5 C, as if they had been taken directly from
a refrigerator. The surrounding air and table are held constant at 25 C. The glass wall
has a finite thickness with a specific thermal conductivity. Due to rotational symmetry,
you can model the whole system in 2D, using an axisymmetric geometry. The
geometry and model domain are shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Geometry and computational domain.
The global mass and momentum balances for non-isothermal flow are coupled to an
energy balance, where transport occurs through convection and conduction.
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For the energy balance in the wall of the glass, only the conduction is considered. The
thermal properties for the glass wall are assumed to be of Silica Glass.
B O U N D A R Y C O N D I T I O N S
Assuming perfect contact between the table surface and the bottom of the glass, you
can set the boundary condition to a temperature of 25 C. At the top and outer
surfaces, use a convective heat flux boundary condition driven by the temperature
difference between the glass and the surrounding atmosphere:
Here q is the inward heat flux and h is the heat transfer film coefficient. The Heat
Transfer Module comes with a library of heat transfer coefficient functions (Ref. 1) that
you can access easily and use in this model.
For the flow field, no-slip conditions apply on the interior boundaries (between the
glass and the water) while an axisymmetry condition applies on the axis of rotation and
a slip condition on the open surface. In this case, the simulation runs for a period of
2 minutes.
Results and Discussion
The heat fluxes through the top surface, side wall and bottom of the glass are shown
in Figure 2. Because of the low values of the heat transfer film coefficients, most of the
heat is conducted to the water through the bottom boundary.
q h T T

( ) =
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Figure 2: Heat flux through the top surface (solid line), side wall (dotted line), and bottom
of the glass (dashed line)
When the fluid is heated at the bottom of the glass, the local density decreases, thereby
inducing a flow inside the glass. Figure 3 shows temperature distributions for equally
spaced time intervals.
Figure 3: Temperature distribution at t = 30, 60, and 81 s.
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The buoyancy-driven flow induces recirculation zones in the glass. These recirculation
zones are clearly seen in a streamline plot of the velocity field. Figure 4 shows the
streamlines for the same output times as the previous figure.
Figure 4: Velocity field after t = 30, 60, and 81 s visualized with streamlines.
The following plot shows the temperature distribution in the glass after 2 minutes.
Figure 5: Temperature distribution after 2 minutes.
Reference
1. A. Bejan, Heat Transfer, Wiley, 1993.
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Model Library path: Heat_Transfer_Module/Tutorial_Models/
cold_water_glass
Modeling Instructions
MO D E L WI Z A R D
1 Go to the Model Wizard window.
2 Click the 2D axisymmetric button.
3 Click Next.
4 In the Add physics tree, select Fluid Flow>Non-Isothermal Flow>Laminar Flow (nitf).
5 Click Next.
6 Find the Studies subsection. In the tree, select Preset Studies>Time Dependent.
7 Click Finish.
G L O B A L D E F I N I T I O N S
Parameters
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Global Definitions and choose Parameters.
2 In the Parameters settings window, locate the Parameters section.
3 In the table, enter the following settings:
G E O ME T R Y 1
Polygon 1
1 In the Model Builder window, under Model 1 right-click Geometry 1 and choose
Polygon.
NAME EXPRESSION DESCRIPTION
r_top 4.5[cm] Radius on the top
r_bottom 3.5[cm] Radius at the bottom
Hg 10[cm] Height of the glass
h_wall 0.13[cm] Thickness of the glass wall
h_bottom 0.3[cm] Thickness of the bottom
Vlength sqrt((r_top-r_botto
m)^2+Hg^2)
Length of the outer wall
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2 In the Polygon settings window, locate the Coordinates section.
3 In the r edit field, type 0 r_bottom-h_wall r_top-h_wall 0.
4 In the z edit field, type h_bottom h_bottom Hg Hg.
5 Click the Build All button.
Polygon 2
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Geometry 1 and choose Polygon.
2 In the Polygon settings window, locate the Coordinates section.
3 In the r edit field, type 0 0 r_bottom r_top.
4 In the z edit field, type Hg 0 0 Hg.
5 Click the Build All button.
MA T E R I A L S
1 In the Model Builder window, under Model 1 right-click Materials and choose Open
Material Browser.
2 In the Material Browser window, locate the Materials section.
3 In the tree, select Built-In>Silica glass.
Silica glass
1 In the Model Builder window, under Model 1>Materials click Silica glass.
2 Select Domain 1 only.
3 In the Model Builder window, right-click Materials and choose Open Material Browser.
4 In the Material Browser window, locate the Materials section.
5 In the tree, select Built-In>Water, liquid.
Water, liquid
1 In the Model Builder window, under Model 1>Materials click Water, liquid.
2 Select Domain 2 only.
N O N - I S O T H E R MA L F L OW
1 In the Model Builder windows toolbar, click the Show button and select Discretization
2 In the Model Builder window, click Non-Isothermal Flow.
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3 In the Non-Isothermal Flow settings window, click to expand the Discretization
section.
4 From the Discretization of fluids list, choose P2 + P1.
This setting gives quadratic elements for the velocity field.
Initial Values 1
1 In the Model Builder window, expand the Non-Isothermal Flow node, then click Initial
Values 1.
2 In the Initial Values settings window, locate the Initial Values section.
3 In the p edit field, type nitf.rho*g_const*(0.1[m]-z).
This setting gives an initial pressure field consistent with the volume force. The
initial pressure field must be also consistent with the pressure constraint (see the
section Pressure Point Constraint below).
4 In the T edit field, type 278.15[K].
Heat Transfer in Solids 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the domain
setting Heat Transfer in Solids.
2 Select Domain 1 only.
Volume Force 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the domain
setting Laminar Flow>Volume Force.
2 Select Domain 2 only.
3 In the Volume Force settings window, locate the Volume Force section.
4 Specify the F vector as
Wall 2
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the
boundary condition Laminar Flow>Wall.
2 Select Boundary 5 only.
3 In the Wall settings window, locate the Boundary Condition section.
4 From the Boundary condition list, choose Slip.
Because this is a closed cavity flow, lock the pressure.
0 r
-g_const*nitf.rho z
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Pressure Point Constraint 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose
Points>Pressure Point Constraint.
2 Select Point 6 only.
Temperature 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the
boundary condition Heat Transfer>Temperature.
2 Select Boundary 2 only.
3 In the Temperature settings window, locate the Temperature section.
4 In the T
0
edit field, type 298.15[K].
Convective Cooling 1
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the
boundary condition Heat Transfer>Convective Cooling.
2 Select Boundary 7 only.
The function you loaded is valid for the natural convection of the air along the
horizontal surface. It requires the input of the ambient temperature and the length
scale.
3 In the Convective Cooling settings window, locate the Heat Flux section.
4 From the Heat transfer coefficient list, choose External natural convection.
5 In the L edit field, type Vlength.
6 In the T
ext
edit field, type 298.15[K].
Convective Cooling 2
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Non-Isothermal Flow and choose the
boundary condition Heat Transfer>Convective Cooling.
2 Select Boundaries 5 and 8 only.
The inclination of the wall is sufficiently small that you can assume that it is vertical
when calculating the heat transfer coefficient.
3 In the Convective Cooling settings window, locate the Heat Flux section.
4 From the Heat transfer coefficient list, choose External natural convection.
5 From the list, choose Horizontal plate, upside.
6 In the L edit field, type r_top.
7 In the T
ext
edit field, type 298.15[K].
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ME S H 1
Use a physics-controlled mesh to get boundary layers at the water-glass interface.
1 In the Model Builder window, under Model 1 click Mesh 1.
2 In the Mesh settings window, locate the Mesh Settings section.
3 From the Element size list, choose Fine.
4 Click the Build All button.
You can ignore the warning about overwritten size settings, which is a result of the
specific shape of the modeling domain. The resulting mesh is nevertheless well
suited for the problem.
S T U D Y 1
Step 1: Time Dependent
Because free convection is a rather slow phenomenon, run the problem for a period of
2 minutes.
1 In the Model Builder window, expand the Study 1 node, then click Step 1: Time
Dependent.
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2 In the Time Dependent settings window, locate the Study Settings section.
3 In the Times edit field, type range(0,0.05,2)[min].
There is a lot of secondary flow effect. A tight tolerance is needed.
4 Select the Relative tolerance check box.
5 In the associated edit field, type 1e-3.
6 In the Model Builder window, right-click Study 1 and choose Show Default Solver.
7 Expand the Study 1>Solver Configurations node.
Solver 1
1 In the Model Builder window, expand the Study 1>Solver Configurations>Solver 1
node, then click Time-Dependent Solver 1.
2 In the Time-Dependent Solver settings window, click to expand the Absolute Tolerance
section.
3 In the Tolerance edit field, type 2.5e-5.
4 Click to expand the Time Stepping section. Allow for a high order method.
5 From the Maximum BDF order list, choose 5.
6 In the Model Builder window, right-click Study 1 and choose Compute.
R E S U L T S
The default plots show the velocity and temperature fields at the last time step
(Figure 5). To reproduce the three snapshots in Figure 3, do as follows:
2D Plot Group 3
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Results and choose 2D Plot Group.
2 Right-click 2D Plot Group 3 and choose Rename.
3 Go to the Rename 2D Plot Group dialog box and type Temperature, 2D in the New
name edit field.
4 Click OK.
Temperature, 2D
1 Right-click Results>2D Plot Group 3 and choose Surface.
2 In the Model Builder window, under Results>Temperature, 2D right-click Surface 1
and choose Plot.
3 Click the Zoom Extents button on the Graphics toolbar.
The plot in the Graphics window should resemble that in Figure 5.
4 In the Model Builder window, click Temperature, 2D.
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5 In the 2D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.
6 From the Time list, choose 30.
7 Click the Plot button.
Compare the result with the left plot in Figure 3.
Repeat the previous instruction for the times 60 and 81 to generate the middle and
right plots.
To produce the series of snapshots of the velocity streamlines shown in Figure 4,
proceed with the following steps:
2D Plot Group 4
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Results and choose 2D Plot Group.
2 Right-click 2D Plot Group 4 and choose Rename.
3 Go to the Rename 2D Plot Group dialog box and type Velocity streamlines, 2D
in the New name edit field.
4 Click OK.
Velocity streamlines, 2D
1 Right-click Results>2D Plot Group 4 and choose Streamline.
2 In the Streamline settings window, click Replace Expression in the upper-right corner
of the Expression section. From the menu, choose Non-Isothermal Flow (Laminar
Flow)>Velocity field (u,w).
3 Locate the Streamline Positioning section. From the Positioning list, choose Start
point controlled.
4 In the Model Builder window, click Velocity streamlines, 2D.
5 In the 2D Plot Group settings window, locate the Data section.
6 From the Time list, choose 30.
7 Click the Plot button.
Compare the result with the left plot in Figure 4.
Repeat the previous instruction for the times 60 and 81 to generate the middle and
right plots.
Finally, compute and plot the fluxes trough the top, bottom, and side wall of the
glass.
Derived Values
1 In the Model Builder window, under Results right-click Derived Values and choose
Integration>Line Integration.
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2 Select Boundary 2 only.
3 In the Line Integration settings window, locate the Expression section.
4 In the Expression edit field, type -nitf.ntflux.
5 Select the Description check box.
6 In the associated edit field, type Flux_bottom.
7 Click to expand the Integration Settings section. Select the Compute surface integral
check box.
8 Click the Evaluate button.
9 In the Model Builder window, right-click Derived Values and choose Integration>Line
Integration.
10 Select Boundary 7 only.
11 In the Line Integration settings window, locate the Expression section.
12 In the Expression edit field, type -nitf.ntflux.
13 Select the Description check box.
14 In the associated edit field, type Flux_wall.
15 Locate the Integration Settings section. Select the Compute surface integral check
box.
16 Click the Evaluate button.
17 In the Model Builder window, right-click Derived Values and choose Integration>Line
Integration.
18 Select Boundaries 5 and 8 only.
19 In the Line Integration settings window, locate the Expression section.
20 In the Expression edit field, type -nitf.ntflux.
21 Select the Description check box.
22 In the associated edit field, type Flux_top.
23 Locate the Integration Settings section. Select the Compute surface integral check
box.
24 Click the Evaluate button.
1D Plot Group 5
1 In the Model Builder window, right-click Results and choose 1D Plot Group.
2 In the 1D Plot Group settings window, locate the Title section.
3 From the Title type list, choose Manual.
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4 In the Title text area, type Heat Flux vs Time.
5 Locate the Plot Settings section. Select the x-axis label check box.
6 In the associated edit field, type Time.
7 Select the y-axis label check box.
8 In the associated edit field, type Heat Flux.
9 Click to expand the Grid section. Select the Manual spacing check box.
10 In the x spacing edit field, type 20.
11 In the y spacing edit field, type 20.
12 In the Model Builder window, right-click 1D Plot Group 5 and choose Rename.
13 Go to the Rename 1D Plot Group dialog box and type Heat Flux vs Time in the
New name edit field.
14 Click OK.
Heat Flux vs Time
1 Right-click 1D Plot Group 5 and choose Table Graph.
2 In the Table Graph settings window, locate the Coloring and Style section.
3 Find the Line style subsection. From the Color list, choose Blue.
4 Click to expand the Legends section. Select the Show legends check box.
5 Click the Plot button.
6 In the Model Builder window, right-click Heat Flux vs Time and choose Table Graph.
7 In the Table Graph settings window, locate the Data section.
8 From the Table list, choose Table 2.
9 Locate the Coloring and Style section. Find the Line style subsection. From the Line
list, choose Dashed.
10 From the Color list, choose Blue.
11 Locate the Legends section. Select the Show legends check box.
12 Click the Plot button.
13 In the Model Builder window, right-click Heat Flux vs Time and choose Table Graph.
14 In the Table Graph settings window, locate the Data section.
15 From the Table list, choose Table 3.
16 Locate the Coloring and Style section. Find the Line style subsection. From the Line
list, choose Dash-dot.
17 From the Color list, choose Blue.
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18 Locate the Legends section. Select the Show legends check box.
19 Click the Plot button.
Compare the resulting plot with that in Figure 2.