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Undesirable Flow Behavior in a Proposed Validation Data Set

[+] Author Affiliations
Richard W. Johnson, Hugh M. McIlroy

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Ryan C. Johnson

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Daniel P. Christensen

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Paper No. ICONE18-29474, pp. 507-515; 9 pages
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering: Volume 4, Parts A and B
  • Xi’an, China, May 17–21, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4932-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The next generation nuclear plant (NGNP), whose development is supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, will be a very high temperature reactor (VHTR). The VHTR is a single-phase helium-cooled reactor that will provide helium at up to 800 °C. The prospect of a coolant at these temperatures circulating in the reactor vessel demands that careful analysis be performed to ensure that excessively hot spots are not created and that sufficient mixing of the coolant is obtained. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) coupled with heat transfer will be used to perform the desired analyses. However, primarily because of the imperfect nature of modeling turbulent flow, any CFD calculations used to perform nuclear reactor safety analysis must be validated against experimental data. Experimental data have been taken in a scaled section of the lower plenum of a prismatic VHTR at the matched index of refraction (MIR) facility at the Idaho National Laboratory. These data were taken with the intent that they be examined for use as validation data. A series of investigations have been conducted to assess the MIR data. Issues that have already been examined include the extent of the required computational domain, the outlet boundary condition, the inlet data and the effect of the turbulence model. One of the jets that flow into the model impacts on a wedge, which represents a portion of a hexagonal graphite block that is part of the inner wall of the lower plenum. The nature of the flow below this particular jet is such that a randomly varying recirculation zone is created. This recirculation zone is seen to change in size, causing a relatively long-time scale of motion or disturbance on the flow downstream. It is concluded that such a feature is undesirable in a validation data set, firstly because of its apparent random nature and, secondly, because to obtain an appropriate longtime average would be impractical because of the compute time required. It is found that by eliminating the first of the four inlet jets into the scaled model, the resulting recirculation zone is rendered stable.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Flow (Dynamics)



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