Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Bau, Haim H. and Kenneth E. Torrance. (1981) On the stability and flow reversal of an asymmetrically heated open convection loop. Journal of Fluid Mechanics. Vol. 109. p. 417-433.

Copyright 1981 Cambridge University Press.


Experimental results are reported for a U-shaped, free convection loop. The top of the loop is open to an isothermal reservoir. The horizontal leg and one vertical leg are heated at rates Q1 and Q2, respectively. The loop is filled either with water or a watersaturated porous medium. Symmetric heating and asymmetric heating favouring the ascending leg of the loop both yield stable flows. Asymmetric heating favouring the descending leg leads to stable flows when the ratio Q1/Q2 is above a critical value. Below this critical value, the flow is observed to oscillate with increasing amplitude until the direction of flow in the loop undergoes a reversal. A steady flow follows the reversal. Analytical results include a stability analysis and time-dependent, one-dimensional numerical calculations, both of which compare favourably with experiment.



Date Posted: 17 August 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.