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Title: Coupled computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analysis of the VHTR lower plenum.

Abstract

The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) concept is being developed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other groups around the world for the future generation of electricity at high thermal efficiency (> 48%) and co-generation of hydrogen and process heat. This Generation-IV reactor would operate at elevated exit temperatures of 1,000-1,273 K, and the fueled core would be cooled by forced convection helium gas. For the prismatic-core VHTR, which is the focus of this analysis, the velocity of the hot helium flow exiting the core into the lower plenum (LP) could be 35-70 m/s. The impingement of the resulting gas jets onto the adiabatic plate at the bottom of the LP could develop hot spots and thermal stratification and inadequate mixing of the gas exiting the vessel to the turbo-machinery for energy conversion. The complex flow field in the LP is further complicated by the presence of large cylindrical graphite posts that support the massive core and inner and outer graphite reflectors. Because there are approximately 276 channels in the VHTR core from which helium exits into the LP and a total of 155 support posts, the flow field in the LP includes cross flow, multiple jet flowmore » interaction, flow stagnation zones, vortex interaction, vortex shedding, entrainment, large variation in Reynolds number (Re), recirculation, and mixing enhancement and suppression regions. For such a complex flow field, experimental results at operating conditions are not currently available. Instead, the objective of this paper is to numerically simulate the flow field in the LP of a prismatic core VHTR using the Sandia National Laboratories Fuego, which is a 3D, massively parallel generalized computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code with numerous turbulence and buoyancy models and simulation capabilities for complex gas flow fields, with and without thermal effects. The code predictions for simpler flow fields of single and swirling gas jets, with and without a cross flow, are validated using reported experimental data and theory. The key processes in the LP are identified using phenomena identification and ranking table (PIRT). It may be argued that a CFD code that accurately simulates simplified, single-effect flow fields with increasing complexity is likely to adequately model the complex flow field in the VHTR LP, subject to a future experimental validation. The PIRT process and spatial and temporal discretizations implemented in the present analysis using Fuego established confidence in the validation and verification (V and V) calculations and in the conclusions reached based on the simulation results. The performed calculations included the helicoid vortex swirl model, the dynamic Smagorinsky large eddy simulation (LES) turbulence model, participating media radiation (PMR), and 1D conjugate heat transfer (CHT). The full-scale, half-symmetry LP mesh used in the LP simulation included unstructured hexahedral elements and accounted for the graphite posts, the helium jets, the exterior walls, and the bottom plate with an adiabatic outer surface. Results indicated significant enhancements in heat transfer, flow mixing, and entrainment in the VHTR LP when using swirling inserts at the exit of the helium flow channels into the LP. The impact of using various swirl angles on the flow mixing and heat transfer in the LP is qualified, including the formation of the central recirculation zone (CRZ), and the effect of LP height. Results also showed that in addition to the enhanced mixing, the swirling inserts result in negligible additional pressure losses and are likely to eliminate the formation of hot spots.« less

Authors:
 [1];
  1. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Laboratories
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1038194
Report Number(s):
SAND2010-8877C
TRN: US1201818
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Proposed for presentation at the International Congress on Advanced Nuclear Power Plants held May 2, 2011 in Nice, France.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; COGENERATION; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRICITY; ENERGY CONVERSION; ENTRAINMENT; FLUID MECHANICS; FORCED CONVECTION; GAS FLOW; GRAPHITE; HEAT TRANSFER; HELIUM; HOT SPOTS; HYDROGEN; IMPINGEMENT; LARGE-EDDY SIMULATION; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; PROCESS HEAT; REYNOLDS NUMBER; STAGNATION; STRATIFICATION; TEMPERATURE DEPENDENCE; THERMAL EFFICIENCY; TURBULENCE; VHTR REACTOR

Citation Formats

El-Genk, Mohamed S, and Rodriguez, Salvador B. Coupled computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analysis of the VHTR lower plenum.. United States: N. p., 2010. Web.
El-Genk, Mohamed S, & Rodriguez, Salvador B. Coupled computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analysis of the VHTR lower plenum.. United States.
El-Genk, Mohamed S, and Rodriguez, Salvador B. Wed . "Coupled computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analysis of the VHTR lower plenum.". United States.
@article{osti_1038194,
title = {Coupled computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analysis of the VHTR lower plenum.},
author = {El-Genk, Mohamed S and Rodriguez, Salvador B},
abstractNote = {The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) concept is being developed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other groups around the world for the future generation of electricity at high thermal efficiency (> 48%) and co-generation of hydrogen and process heat. This Generation-IV reactor would operate at elevated exit temperatures of 1,000-1,273 K, and the fueled core would be cooled by forced convection helium gas. For the prismatic-core VHTR, which is the focus of this analysis, the velocity of the hot helium flow exiting the core into the lower plenum (LP) could be 35-70 m/s. The impingement of the resulting gas jets onto the adiabatic plate at the bottom of the LP could develop hot spots and thermal stratification and inadequate mixing of the gas exiting the vessel to the turbo-machinery for energy conversion. The complex flow field in the LP is further complicated by the presence of large cylindrical graphite posts that support the massive core and inner and outer graphite reflectors. Because there are approximately 276 channels in the VHTR core from which helium exits into the LP and a total of 155 support posts, the flow field in the LP includes cross flow, multiple jet flow interaction, flow stagnation zones, vortex interaction, vortex shedding, entrainment, large variation in Reynolds number (Re), recirculation, and mixing enhancement and suppression regions. For such a complex flow field, experimental results at operating conditions are not currently available. Instead, the objective of this paper is to numerically simulate the flow field in the LP of a prismatic core VHTR using the Sandia National Laboratories Fuego, which is a 3D, massively parallel generalized computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code with numerous turbulence and buoyancy models and simulation capabilities for complex gas flow fields, with and without thermal effects. The code predictions for simpler flow fields of single and swirling gas jets, with and without a cross flow, are validated using reported experimental data and theory. The key processes in the LP are identified using phenomena identification and ranking table (PIRT). It may be argued that a CFD code that accurately simulates simplified, single-effect flow fields with increasing complexity is likely to adequately model the complex flow field in the VHTR LP, subject to a future experimental validation. The PIRT process and spatial and temporal discretizations implemented in the present analysis using Fuego established confidence in the validation and verification (V and V) calculations and in the conclusions reached based on the simulation results. The performed calculations included the helicoid vortex swirl model, the dynamic Smagorinsky large eddy simulation (LES) turbulence model, participating media radiation (PMR), and 1D conjugate heat transfer (CHT). The full-scale, half-symmetry LP mesh used in the LP simulation included unstructured hexahedral elements and accounted for the graphite posts, the helium jets, the exterior walls, and the bottom plate with an adiabatic outer surface. Results indicated significant enhancements in heat transfer, flow mixing, and entrainment in the VHTR LP when using swirling inserts at the exit of the helium flow channels into the LP. The impact of using various swirl angles on the flow mixing and heat transfer in the LP is qualified, including the formation of the central recirculation zone (CRZ), and the effect of LP height. Results also showed that in addition to the enhanced mixing, the swirling inserts result in negligible additional pressure losses and are likely to eliminate the formation of hot spots.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {12}
}

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