Heat transfer measurements are presented for free convection in a vertical annulus wherein the inner cylinder is at constant surface heat flux and the outer cylinder is at constant temperature. Overall heat transfer data are corrected for thermal radiation in the annulus. Rayleigh numbers span the conduction, transition and boundary layer regimes of flow, and average heat transfer coefficients are obtained with air and helium as the working fluids. The range of Rayleigh number is 103 < Ra < 2.3 × 106; the radius ratio is 4.33; and the aspect ratio (cylinder length divided by annular gap) is 27.6. Energy transferred by thermal radiation varies with Rayleigh number and working fluid. With air, thermal radiation can account for up to 50 percent of the heat transfer. With helium, radiation can account for up to 30 percent of the heat transfer rate. The results of the study provide data relevant to the design and performance assessment of spent fuel packages as part of the National Waste Terminal Storage Program for nuclear waste isolation.

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