Freezing Controlled by natural convection

E. M. sparrow, J. W. Ramsey, R. G. Kemink

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27 Scopus citations


Experiments were performed for freezing under conditions where the liquid phase is either above or at the fusion temperature (i.e., superheated or nonsuperheated liquid). The liquid was housed in a cylindrical containment vessel whose surface was maintained at a uniform, time-invariant temperature during a data run, and the freezing occurred on a cooled vertical tube positioned along the axis of the vessel. The phase change medium was n-eicosane, a paraffin which freezes at about 36° C (97°F). In the presence of liquid superheating, the freezing process is drastically slowed and ultimately terminated by the natural convection in the liquid. The terminal size of the frozen layer and the time at which freezing terminates can be controlled by setting the temperature parameters which govern the intensity of the natural convection. The stronger the natural convection, the thinner the frozen layer and the shorter the freezing time. In the absence of liquid superheating, a cylindrical frozen layer grows continuously as predicted by theory, but the growth rate is higher than the predictions because of the presence of whisker-like dendrites on the freezing surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-584
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1979


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