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The Characteristics Study of Helium-Xenon Mixture in Closed Brayton Cycle for Space Nuclear Reactor Power

[+] Author Affiliations
Xie Yang, Lei Shi

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Paper No. ICONE26-82220, pp. V005T05A025; 6 pages
  • 2018 26th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 5: Advanced Reactors and Fusion Technologies; Codes, Standards, Licensing, and Regulatory Issues
  • London, England, July 22–26, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5147-0
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Differing from the adoption of helium as working fluid of closed Brayton cycle (CBC) for terrestrial high temperature gas cooled reactor (HTGR) power plants, helium-xenon mixture with a proper molar weight was recommended as working fluid for space nuclear reactor power with CBC conversion. It is essential to figure out how the component of helium-xenon mixture affects the net system efficiency, in order to provide reference for the selection of appropriate cycle working fluid. After a discussion of the physical properties of different helium-xenon mixtures, the related physical properties are studied to analyze their affection on the key parameters of CBC, including adiabatic coefficient, recuperator effectiveness and normalized pressure loss coefficient. Then the comprehensive thermodynamics of CBC net system efficiency is studied in detail considering different helium-xenon mixtures. The physical properties study reveals that at 0.7 MPa and 400 K, the adiabatic coefficient of helium-xenon mixture increases with increased molar weight, from 0.400 (pure helium) to 0.414 (pure xenon), while recuperator effectiveness firstly increases and then decreases with the increase of molar weight, and the normalized pressure loss coefficient increases monotonically with molar weight increases. The thermodynamic analysis results show that the adiabatic coefficient has less effect on the net system efficiency, while the net system efficiency increases with increased recuperator effectiveness, and the net system efficiency decreases with normalized pressure loss coefficient increases. Finally, the mixture of helium-8.6% xenon was adopted as working fluid, instead of pure helium, for ensuring less turbine mechanicals (turbine and compressor) stages, and resulting maximum recuperator effectiveness. At the given cold / hot side temperature of 400 / 1300 K, the net system efficiency can reach 29.18% theoretically.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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