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Investigation of a Two-Phase Siphon: Pressure Drop Characteristics, Flow Prediction, and Flow Regime Change Prediction

[+] Author Affiliations
J. Howard Arthur, Charles D. Morgan, Cory D. Engelhard

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA

Berton Austin, Jr.

Riddleberger Bros., Inc., Mt. Crawford, VA

Paper No. HT-FED2004-56186, pp. 487-496; 10 pages
  • ASME 2004 Heat Transfer/Fluids Engineering Summer Conference
  • Volume 3
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, July 11–15, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division and Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4692-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3740-8
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


In some nuclear power plants, a passive siphon breaking system is used to prevent the spent fuel tank from draining in the event of a break in the vertical leg of the heat exchanger piping. A hole is drilled in the horizontal leg of the piping. When the water level in the tank drops below the pipe level air is sucked into the system. When sufficient air is entrained in the pipe the siphon will break. A model to predict the flow rate in a vertical siphon was developed in reference 1 using the homogeneous flow model. The predicted flow rates were greater than measured flow rates. In order to improve the predictive capability, pressure drop measurements were obtained from ten foot vertical test sections with nominal diameters of 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, and 2.0 inches. Values of the distribution parameter, Co , for the drift flux model were determined from the pressure drop data. When the model of reference 1 is changed from homogeneous flow to drift flux model with the distribution parameter determined from the pressure drop data, good agreement with measured liquid flow rates is obtained. The improved model, along with the correlation for the siphon break condition obtained provides a good method for determining the hole size required to break the siphon. There is a paucity of data for two-phase flow regime transition where the flow is in the downward direction that is typical in a siphon. Flow regime transition data were obtained using the test sections listed above. The flow map of Oshinowo2 et al. gave a reasonable prediction of the transition from bubbly to slug flow. None of the references investigated gave an adequate prediction of the point where the siphon would break. A correlation for the siphon break point was developed.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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