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Taming Natural Convection by Alex Wilson How to move heat from one place to another is a major issue in building design. Usually the heat is transferred in a fluid such as water through pipes or air through ducts from a central heating system to the rooms where needed. In passive-solar houses, however, heat distribution occurs naturally via conduction, radiation, and natural convection. Recently, this last mechanism of heat transfer—convection—has been studied intensively by researchers. By better understanding natural airflow, researchers such as Dr. J. Douglas Balcomb of Los Alamos National Laboratories have been able to offer valuable design tips that can improve heat distribution and comfort in passive-solar buildings. Some of these ideas can even be applied to nonsolar houses. Convective Airflow Convection is the