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Natural convection heat transfer and fluid flow have been examined numerically using the control-volume finite-element method in an isosceles prismatic cavity, submitted to a uniform heat flux from below when inclined sides are maintained isothermal and vertical walls are assumed to be perfect thermal insulators, without symmetry assumptions for the flow structure. The aim of the study is to examine a pitchfork bifurcation occurrence. Governing parameters on heat transfer and flow fields are the Rayleigh number and the aspect ratio of the enclosure. It has been found that the heated wall is not isothermal and the flow structure is sensitive to the aspect ratio. It is also found that heat transfer increases with increasing of Rayleigh number and decreases with increasing aspect ratio. The effects of aspect ratio become significant especially for higher values of Rayleigh number. Eventually the obtained results show that a pitchfork bifurcation occurs at a critical Rayleigh number, above which the symmetric solutions becomes unstable and asymmetric solutions are instead obtained.
PAPER REVISED: 2009-12-27
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2010-01-03
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THERMAL SCIENCE YEAR 2011, VOLUME 15, ISSUE Issue 2, PAGES [437 - 446]
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