Natural convection heat transfer from a constant-flux cylinder, immersed vertically through a stratified (two-layer) liquid-saturated porous medium, was investigated experimentally. Measured radial temperature profiles and heat transfer rates agreed well with numerical predictions based on the work of Hickox and Gartling. The 1:6 permeability-ratio interface existing between the two layers was found to effectively trap buoyancy-driven fluid motion within the high-permeability region, beneath the interface. Within this high-permeability region, Nusselt number versus Rayleigh number data were found to correlate with previously measured results, obtained for the same basic geometry, but with a fully permeable upper-surface hydrodynamic boundary condition. In both cases, the vertical and radial extent of the region under study were large compared to the radius of the heat source. Combined results indicate that, for a given Rayleigh number in the Darcy-flow regime, heat transfer rates from cylinders immersed vertically in uniform liquid-saturated porous media of large vertical and radial extent potentially approach limiting values. Variable-porosity effects which occur in unconsolidated porous media adjacent to solid boundaries were investigated numerically for cases where the particle-to-heater diameter ratio was small (≈ 10−2). Results showed variable-porosity effects to have a negligible influence on the thermal field adjacent to such boundaries under conditions of Darcy flow.

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