CFD analyses of liquid metal flow in sub-channels for Gen IV reactors

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Nuclear Engineering and Design
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some of the limitations of Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) based Computational Fluid Dynamics CFD codes in computing the flow and temperature field in a rod-bundle are well known. An in-house validation campaign has indicated that the Baseline Reynolds Stress Model (BSL-RSM) with automatic wall treatment is preferred for RANS analyses of a rod-bundle using the CFX code.

As a first step in the present paper, the employed CFX code has been assessed with the analyses of a liquid sodium flow in a rod-bundle as in the TEGENA (TEmperatur- und GEschwindigkeitsverteilungen in Stabbündel mit turbulenter NAtriumströmung) experiment. For this RANS analysis, the full cross-section is modelled to avoid numerical issues associated with symmetric boundary conditions.

The influence of pitch-to-diameter ratio (p/d) and rod arrangements on thermal-hydraulics is analyzed by applying the assessed modeling approach. For this purpose, rod-bundles with different p/d are arranged in a square and triangular lattice. The computational sub-channels make use of periodic boundary conditions. RANS computed axial velocity normalized with the friction velocity shows the presence of a logarithmic outer region for both arrangements. Similar behavior was reported based on a Large Eddy Simulation (LES) approach. The analyses reveal that the intensity of secondary flow increases with decreasing p/d for both arrangements. RANS analyzed normal Reynolds stresses normalized with centerline velocity in the smallest gap of rod-bundle reveal their anisotropy. Furthermore, the analyses show that the Nusselt numbers increase with p/d for described flow conditions and for both arrangements. Following observations of flow oscillations in a tight lattice rod-bundle as in Hooper's experiment, as a final step, unsteady RANS simulations for hydraulic analyses using a rod-bundle with small p/d are presented with two commercial CFD codes, namely, CFX and STAR-CCM+. In particular, the analysis of Hooper's hydraulics experiment with a tight lattice rod-bundle having a p/d of 1.1 demonstrates the existence of flow oscillations or instabilities as inferred in the experiment.

2011 Elsevier B.V.
Author Name: 
Laltu Chandra
Ferry Roelofs