Distribution of heat sources in vertical open channels with natural convection.

*(English)*Zbl 1189.76569Summary: We use the constructal method to determine the optimal distribution and sizes of discrete heat sources in a vertical open channel cooled by natural convection. Two classes of geometries are considered: (i) heat sources with fixed size and fixed heat flux, and (ii) single heat source with variable size and fixed total heat current. In both classes, the objective is the maximization of the global thermal conductance between the discretely heated wall and the cold fluid. This objective is equivalent to minimizing temperature of the hot spot that occurs at a point on the wall. The numerical results show that for low Rayleigh numbers \((\sim 10^{2})\), the heat sources select as optimal location the inlet plane of the channel. For configuration (i), the optimal location changes as the Rayleigh number increases, and the last (downstream) heat source tends to migrate toward the exit plane, which results in a non-uniform distribution of heat sources on the wall. For configuration (ii) we also show that at low and moderate Rayleigh numbers (\(Ra_{M} \sim 10^{2}\) and \(10^{3}\)) the thermal performance is maximized when the heat source does not cover the entire wall. As the flow intensity increases, the optimal heat source size approaches the height of the wall. The importance to free the flow geometry to morph toward the configuration of minimal global resistance (maximal flow access) is also discussed.