Radiation heat transfer affects natural convection of air inside an open ended cavity with a heated horizontal upper plate and an unheated lower parallel plate. The influence is mainly due to radiative heating of the lower plate, and plane fluid layer secondary motion could arise. In this paper an experimental study is carried out to describe and to detect the influence of radiation on air flow and on heat transfer coefficient by means of wall temperature profiles, smoke visualization, and air temperature measurements. The analysis is obtained for an emissivity of the horizontal plates equal to 0.8, for distances between the plates of 20.0, 32.3, and 40.0 mm. By means of flow visualization and local air temperature measurements in the cavity as a function of time, remarkable secondary motion in the cavity is observed when qΩ is equal to 120 W/m2. Measurement of the air temperature in the cavity also shows that radiation causes and damps secondary motion at the same time. Profiles of the mean value of the air temperature as a function of the x and y coordinates confirm both the main flow path inside the cavity and radiation effects on convective heat transfer. Finally, correlations related to average Nusselt number are proposed for natural convection as well as for heat transfer as a whole, that is convection along with radiation.

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