Two-dimensional steady natural convection in a porous rectangular cavity bounded by isothermal vertical walls at different temperatures and adiabatic horizontal walls has been studied numerically for aspect ratios less than unity and Rayleigh numbers up to 104. Results indicate the presence of multicellular flow. Also, the average Nusselt number based on cavity width is observed to be a maximum in a restricted range of aspect ratio, depending on the Rayleigh number. Effects of aspect ratio are summarized by a family of curves for constant Rayleigh number, based on cavity height, for aspect ratios from 0.05 to 100. For a cavity with fixed height, the heat transfer rate always increases as the aspect ratio is increased, except when the flow exhibits boundary layers on the vertical walls. Criteria in terms of aspect ratio and Rayleigh number have been established for the existence of different flow regimes.

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