Impinging flows are widely used to enhance convective heat transfer by promoting separation, recirculation and higher rates of local convection. We consider unsteady flow and heat transfer effects in a prototypical T-shaped geometry as an impinging jet. Depending on the relative length scales, the steady laminar flow in this geometry may lose stability and transition to time periodic flow even at a low Reynolds number. A key feature of the periodic structure is the presence of ‘twin’ circulation regions adjacent to the jet column, and separation vortices anchored at the impinging surface in place of the wall jet in steady flow. The separation vortices are located above shear layers lying along the confining plane of the geometry which is flush with the jet exit. Consequently, convective heat transfer is enhanced across this plane. We present calculations to show the effect of the structure of the periodic flow on heat transfer rates across the two parallel surfaces. For a shear thinning fluid the local Nusselt number at the confining surface averaged over a long length scale (∼ 50 times the nozzle width) is more than twice as large compared to that in steady flow, while for the Newtonian fluid the mean Nusselt number increases about 60%. A mild increase in the transport rate across the impinging surface is also observed. Thus flow periodicity due to instability of the steady flow field provides a mechanism to increase the total heat transfer rate across the two surfaces.

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