Natural convection heat transfer within a two-dimensional, partitioned enclosure of aspect ratio 1 was investigated experimentally using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The vertical walls were maintained isothermal at different temperatures, while the horizontal walls and the partitions were insulated. Local and average heat-transfer coefficients were determined for the air and carbon dioxide filled enclosures both with and without partitions for Grashof numbers between 1.7×105 and 3.0×106. Good agreement was found between the results in the present study for the nonpartitioned enclosure and those previously published. The partitions were found to significantly influence the convective heat transfer. Observations of the interferometric fringes indicated that the core region is unsteady, with the unsteadiness occasionally affecting the flow along the vertical isothermal walls, beginning at Grashof numbers as low as 5×105.

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