In this paper, a gas-kinetic Bhatnagar–Gross–Krook (BGK) scheme is developed for simulating natural convection in a rotating annulus, which arises in many scientific and engineering fields. Different from most existing methods for the solution of the incompressible Navier–Stokes (N–S) equations with the Boussinesq approximation, compressible full N–S equations with allowable density variation are concerned. An appropriate BGK model is constructed for the macroscopic equations defined in a rotating frame of reference. In particular, in order to account for the source (non-inertial) effects in the BGK model, a microscopic source term is introduced into the modified Boltzmann equation. By using the finite volume method and assuming the flow is smooth, the time-dependent distribution function is simply obtained, from which the fluxes at the cell interface can be evaluated. For validation, a closed rotating annulus with differentially heated cylindrical walls is studied. A conventional N–S solver with the preconditioner is used for comparison. The numerical results show that the present method can accurately predict the variation of the Nusselt number with the Rayleigh number, but no preconditioning is required due to its delicate dissipation property. The computed instantaneous streamlines and temperature contours are also investigated, and it is verified that the Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a rotating annulus is very similar to that in a classical stationary horizontal enclosure.
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