Rayleigh-Bénard convection is a classical problem in fluid mechanics, where a gas or liquid is heated from below and cooled from above between two horizontal plates. At a sufficiently high temperature difference, turbulent convection occurs in which large structures detach from the thermal boundary layers at the heating and cooling plates, transporting heat to the core region. Such flow structures also form in thermal convection in rooms and cabins of airplanes and trains, with people in these environments releasing heat that is convectively transported to the cooler ceiling.
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While the experimental investigations of Rayleigh-Bénard convection in the Ilmenau barrel, in which the velocity field is determined by means of particle image velocimetry (PIV), focus on the analysis of the large-scale flow structures and their interaction with the thermal and viscous boundary layers and the convective heat transport, flow calculations carried out using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods are devoted to the air flow and temperature distribution in the passenger cabin interior the heat exchange efficiency of ventilation techniques and the thermal comfort of passengers.
Blunt bodies and vehicles
Aerodynamics plays a crucial role in the design of motor and rail vehicles. In the future, aerodynamic properties will increasingly be predicted with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) during the vehicle development phase in order to reduce costs, which are still high today, and to shorten development times. The flow calculations carried out here on detailed, real configurations (right) serve both to record basic flow phenomena and to determine drag and lift forces, which have a decisive influence on the efficiency and driving stability of the vehicles. The reliability of such flow calculations is checked by comparison with flow field measurements. For this purpose, measurements are carried out using particle image velocimetry on scaled-down, detailed models in the wind tunnel.