In this study, experimental and three-dimensional numerical studies were performed to investigate the effects of plate spacing and temperature difference on natural convection between isothermally heated upward-facing lower horizontal plate and externally insulated horizontal upper plate. Air is used as the heat transfer medium. Rayleigh number varied in the 1108-2.339 × 105 range. Several numerical simulations for three-dimensional steady laminar and turbulent flows heat transfer were carried out using a commercial CFD code Fluent 6.2. Results have shown that there is a good agreement between the numerical and present experimental results as well as with available data in literature. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.