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Numerical Analysis of Natural Circulation Phenomena of Supercritical Fluids

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeffrey Samuel, Glenn Harvel, Igor Pioro

University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, ON, Canada

Paper No. ICONE21-16452, pp. V006T16A043; 10 pages
  • 2013 21st International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 6: Beyond Design Basis Events; Student Paper Competition
  • Chengdu, China, July 29–August 2, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5583-6
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


The feasibility of operating with natural circulation as the normal mode of core cooling has been successfully demonstrated for a few small sized nuclear reactors. Natural circulation is being considered for cooling the core of a nuclear reactor under normal operating conditions in several advanced reactor concepts being developed today.

Although studies have been conducted in natural circulation for many decades, using natural circulation as the primary cooling mechanism for nuclear reactors or as a passive safety system requires a comprehensive understanding of local and integral system phenomena, validated benchmark data, accurate predictive tools, and reliability analysis methods. As full-scale experiments of supercritical water are expensive, scaling laws can be applied to develop test matrices using modelling fluids to reproduce similar conditions in a scaled-down experimental thermalhydraulic loop.

The main aim of this work is to understand the natural circulation phenomena by analyzing water and modelling fluids such as Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Freon 134a (R-134a). The use of the modelling fluids at subcritical, pseudocritical and supercritical pressures is discussed along with fluid-to-fluid scaling techniques. The results from a one-dimensional numerical model developed using MATLAB to calculate the steady-state mass flow rate and heat transport characteristics of an experimental natural circulation test loop are presented and analyzed.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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