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Realistically Improved Finite Element Analysis of Spring Supports in a Nuclear Fuel Spacer Grid

[+] Author Affiliations
Jae-Yong Kim, Kyung-Ho Yoon, Hyung-Kyu Kim

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon, South Korea

Paper No. ICONE16-48957, pp. 731-736; 6 pages
  • 16th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Plant Operations, Maintenance, Installations and Life Cycle; Component Reliability and Materials Issues; Advanced Applications of Nuclear Technology; Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, May 11–15, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4814-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3820-X
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The most important function of grid springs in a spacer grid is to position the fuel rods appropriately using a friction force and to prohibit the fuel rods from dropping during a normal reactor operation. While the fuel burn-up increases, spring force of grid springs decreases because the spring stiffness of grid springs is degraded by a high temperature and an irradiation effect in a reactor core. Therefore this phenomenon has to be reflected when the initial spring force of a grid spring is being designed. Usually, characterization tests of grid springs are conducted to verify designed grid springs have suitable spring forces. (Kim, 2007) FE model using a contact definition and rigid beam elements for a welding bead for predicting the spring stiffness without any spring test was established and verified in a previous research. In those days, two assumptions were used and the analysis for an unloading process was not included in spite of its importance for a spring design. In this paper, the fact that the assumptions have no effect on the analysis results is proven and a realistically improved FE analysis method using coupling constraints for a welding bead is suggested for investigating the spring’s characteristics under an in-grid boundary condition.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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