The characteristics of flow past a heated/cooled sphere are investigated for particle Reynolds numbers in conditions with and without buoyancy by means of three-dimensional numerical simulation in which temperature dependence of fluid properties such as density and viscosity is exactly taken into account. The results show that in the absence of buoyancy, drag coefficients of the heated and cooled spheres are larger and smaller than those of the adiabatic case, respectively, and their Nusselt numbers are smaller and larger than the values estimated by a widely used empirical expression for predicting Nusselt numbers, respectively. In addition, the temperature difference between the sphere and ambient fluid strongly affects the flow separation points, size of vortex ring behind the sphere and Strouhal number for vortex shedding. These changes are attributed to the temperature dependence of fluid properties in the vicinity of the sphere. Even in the presence of buoyancy, the temperature dependence of fluid properties strongly affects the drag coefficient and Nusselt number and therefore the Boussinesq approximation becomes inapplicable as the temperature difference increases, regardless of the magnitude of the Richardson number.
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