An experimental and numerical investigation is presented concerning the natural convection of water near its maximum-density in a differentially heated rectangular enclosure at high Rayleigh numbers, in which an oscillatory convection regime may arise. The water in a tall enclosure of Ay=8 is initially at rest and at a uniform temperature below 4°C and then the temperature of the hot vertical wall is suddenly raised and kept at a uniform temperature above 4°C. The cold vertical wall is maintained at a constant uniform temperature equal to that of the initial temperature of the water. The top and bottom walls are insulated. Using thermally sensitive liquid crystal particles as tracers, flow and temperature fields of a temporally oscillatory convection was documented experimentally for Raw = 3.454 X 105 with the density inversion parameter θm=0.5. The oscillatory convection features a cyclic sequence of onset at the lower quarter-height region, growth, and decay of the upward-drifting secondary vortices within counter-rotating bicellular flows in the enclosure. Two and three-dimensional numerical simulations corresponding to the visualization experiments are undertaken. Comparison of experimental with numerical results reveals that two-dimensional numerical simulation captures the main features of the observed convection flow.
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