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Title: Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios

Abstract

This NEUP project #15-8205 entitled “Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios”, has investigated important phenomena in the safety of Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTRs) using the experimental facilities at City College of New York (CCNY) and Kansas State University (KSU), in collaboration with the Idaho State University (ISU) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The main objectives of this project were to investigate the forced convection and bypass flow phenomena, natural circulation flow and heat transfer, and graphite oxidation due to air ingress which could occur in a Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) with a prismatic core. High pressure/high temperature experiments have been conducted to obtain data that could be used for validation of VHTR design and safety analysis codes. The focus of these experiments was on the generation of benchmark data for design and off-design heat transfer for forced and natural circulation in a VHTR core. This work has built on the previous NEUP project #11-3218 which investigated forced convection and flow laminarization phenomena in a prismatic core of a VHTR and natural circulation of a pure gas under Pressurized Conduction Cooldown (PCC) and Depressurized Conduction Cooldownmore » (DCC) conditions. Under each Task, extensive literature reviews on natural circulation, bypass flow, air ingress and graphite oxidation phenomena were conducted. In Task 1, scaling analyses were conducted by Idaho State University followed by design and construction of experimental facilities needed to conduct both bypass flow and natural circulation experiments at CCNY. Natural circulation experiments were conducted in Task 2 to investigate the air ingress phenomena, and bypass flow phenomena in Task 3, both at CCNY. In Task 4, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation tests were performed at Kansas State University. The experimental data were then analyzed to obtain quantitative results on natural circulation of pure gases and gas mixtures under DCC conditions, bypass flow rates, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation. In addition, CFD and Direct Numerical Simulations were conducted by INL and CCNY to investigate the flow laminarization phenomenon in strongly heated gas flows. The scaling analyses have shown that the key nondimensional numbers and parameters all have acceptable distortion levels principally because the CCNY facility’s test sections have representative cooling channel dimensions and are using either helium or a scalable gas such as nitrogen at representative state conditions. The natural circulation experiments involving helium and nitrogen gas mixtures at CCNY have elucidated the effect of nitrogen (simulating air) ingress into a lower plenum on the onset of natural circulation, mass flow rates and heat transfer coefficients under different power input levels in the riser section. Also, the transport of nitrogen from the lower plenum to upper plenum due to natural circulation was quantified for the first time. Nusselt number correlations for the heat transfer coefficient under natural circulation as a function of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers was also developed. The experiments at KSU revealed that prior to the onset of natural circulationin a VHTR core. This work has built on the previous NEUP project #11-3218 which investigated forced convection and flow laminarization phenomena in a prismatic core of a VHTR and natural circulation of a pure gas under Pressurized Conduction Cooldown (PCC) and Depressurized Conduction Cooldown (DCC) conditions. Under each Task, extensive literature reviews on natural circulation, bypass flow, air ingress and graphite oxidation phenomena were conducted. In Task 1, scaling analyses were conducted by Idaho State University followed by design and construction of experimental facilities needed to conduct both bypass flow and natural circulation experiments at CCNY. Natural circulation experiments were conducted in Task 2 to investigate the air ingress phenomena, and bypass flow phenomena in Task 3, both at CCNY. In Task 4, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation tests were performed at Kansas State University. The experimental data were then analyzed to obtain quantitative results on natural circulation of pure gases and gas mixtures under DCC conditions, bypass flow rates, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation. In addition, CFD and Direct Numerical Simulations were conducted by INL and CCNY to investigate the flow laminarization phenomenon in strongly heated gas flows. The scaling analyses have shown that the key nondimensional numbers and parameters all have acceptable distortion levels principally because the CCNY facility’s test sections have representative cooling channel dimensions and are using either helium or a scalable gas such as nitrogen at representative state conditions.The natural circulation experiments involving helium and nitrogen gas mixtures at CCNY have elucidated the effect of nitrogen (simulating air) ingress into a lower plenum on the onset of natural circulation, mass flow rates and heat transfer coefficients under different power input levels in the riser section. Also, the transport of nitrogen from the lower plenum to upper plenum due to natural circulation was quantified for the first time. Nusselt number correlations for the heat transfer coefficient under natural circulation as a function of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers was also developed. The experiments at KSU revealed that prior to the onset of natural circulation(ONC), molecular diffusion plays a significant role in air-ingress, however, at higher temperatures convection currents may be influencing air ingress and in-turn ONC times. Bypass flow experiments faced difficulties in the measurement of gas velocity in the main channel due to the failure of a high temperature Hot Wire Anemometer probe, so an energy balance method was instead employed to estimate the flow distribution between the main and bypass flow channels. In the graphite oxidation experiments conducted at KSU, oxidation was found to increase the thermal diffusivity of nuclear grade graphite. This change is believed to be driven by oxidation decreasing graphite sample density rather than raising the thermal conductivity. Oxidation was also shown to greatly alter graphite emissivity. If large amounts of impurities have built up within the graphite over time and have significantly increased its effective ash content, then air ingress is likely to severely inhibit the radiative heat transfer abilities of the graphite due to the formation of low emissivity, ash layers on its surface. However, if the purity of the graphite at the time of the air ingress is still close to that of its virgin specifications, the oxidation induced roughening of the graphite’s outer surface would have the effect of slightly raising its emissivity. The flow laminarization phenomenon was investigated by INL by examining the results of Direct Numerical Simulations of previous experiments, and by CCNY conducting its own DNS simulations using DOE’s Nek5000 code« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
City Univ. of New York (CUNY), NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1569844
Report Number(s):
15-8205
15-8205
DOE Contract Number:  
NE0008412
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Kawaji, Masahiro. Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1569844.
Kawaji, Masahiro. Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios. United States. doi:10.2172/1569844.
Kawaji, Masahiro. Mon . "Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios". United States. doi:10.2172/1569844. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1569844.
@article{osti_1569844,
title = {Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios},
author = {Kawaji, Masahiro},
abstractNote = {This NEUP project #15-8205 entitled “Experimental Investigation of Forced Convection and Natural Circulation Cooling of a VHTR Core under Normal Operation and Accident Scenarios”, has investigated important phenomena in the safety of Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTRs) using the experimental facilities at City College of New York (CCNY) and Kansas State University (KSU), in collaboration with the Idaho State University (ISU) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The main objectives of this project were to investigate the forced convection and bypass flow phenomena, natural circulation flow and heat transfer, and graphite oxidation due to air ingress which could occur in a Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) with a prismatic core. High pressure/high temperature experiments have been conducted to obtain data that could be used for validation of VHTR design and safety analysis codes. The focus of these experiments was on the generation of benchmark data for design and off-design heat transfer for forced and natural circulation in a VHTR core. This work has built on the previous NEUP project #11-3218 which investigated forced convection and flow laminarization phenomena in a prismatic core of a VHTR and natural circulation of a pure gas under Pressurized Conduction Cooldown (PCC) and Depressurized Conduction Cooldown (DCC) conditions. Under each Task, extensive literature reviews on natural circulation, bypass flow, air ingress and graphite oxidation phenomena were conducted. In Task 1, scaling analyses were conducted by Idaho State University followed by design and construction of experimental facilities needed to conduct both bypass flow and natural circulation experiments at CCNY. Natural circulation experiments were conducted in Task 2 to investigate the air ingress phenomena, and bypass flow phenomena in Task 3, both at CCNY. In Task 4, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation tests were performed at Kansas State University. The experimental data were then analyzed to obtain quantitative results on natural circulation of pure gases and gas mixtures under DCC conditions, bypass flow rates, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation. In addition, CFD and Direct Numerical Simulations were conducted by INL and CCNY to investigate the flow laminarization phenomenon in strongly heated gas flows. The scaling analyses have shown that the key nondimensional numbers and parameters all have acceptable distortion levels principally because the CCNY facility’s test sections have representative cooling channel dimensions and are using either helium or a scalable gas such as nitrogen at representative state conditions. The natural circulation experiments involving helium and nitrogen gas mixtures at CCNY have elucidated the effect of nitrogen (simulating air) ingress into a lower plenum on the onset of natural circulation, mass flow rates and heat transfer coefficients under different power input levels in the riser section. Also, the transport of nitrogen from the lower plenum to upper plenum due to natural circulation was quantified for the first time. Nusselt number correlations for the heat transfer coefficient under natural circulation as a function of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers was also developed. The experiments at KSU revealed that prior to the onset of natural circulationin a VHTR core. This work has built on the previous NEUP project #11-3218 which investigated forced convection and flow laminarization phenomena in a prismatic core of a VHTR and natural circulation of a pure gas under Pressurized Conduction Cooldown (PCC) and Depressurized Conduction Cooldown (DCC) conditions. Under each Task, extensive literature reviews on natural circulation, bypass flow, air ingress and graphite oxidation phenomena were conducted. In Task 1, scaling analyses were conducted by Idaho State University followed by design and construction of experimental facilities needed to conduct both bypass flow and natural circulation experiments at CCNY. Natural circulation experiments were conducted in Task 2 to investigate the air ingress phenomena, and bypass flow phenomena in Task 3, both at CCNY. In Task 4, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation tests were performed at Kansas State University. The experimental data were then analyzed to obtain quantitative results on natural circulation of pure gases and gas mixtures under DCC conditions, bypass flow rates, radiation heat transfer and graphite oxidation. In addition, CFD and Direct Numerical Simulations were conducted by INL and CCNY to investigate the flow laminarization phenomenon in strongly heated gas flows. The scaling analyses have shown that the key nondimensional numbers and parameters all have acceptable distortion levels principally because the CCNY facility’s test sections have representative cooling channel dimensions and are using either helium or a scalable gas such as nitrogen at representative state conditions.The natural circulation experiments involving helium and nitrogen gas mixtures at CCNY have elucidated the effect of nitrogen (simulating air) ingress into a lower plenum on the onset of natural circulation, mass flow rates and heat transfer coefficients under different power input levels in the riser section. Also, the transport of nitrogen from the lower plenum to upper plenum due to natural circulation was quantified for the first time. Nusselt number correlations for the heat transfer coefficient under natural circulation as a function of Reynolds and Prandtl numbers was also developed. The experiments at KSU revealed that prior to the onset of natural circulation(ONC), molecular diffusion plays a significant role in air-ingress, however, at higher temperatures convection currents may be influencing air ingress and in-turn ONC times. Bypass flow experiments faced difficulties in the measurement of gas velocity in the main channel due to the failure of a high temperature Hot Wire Anemometer probe, so an energy balance method was instead employed to estimate the flow distribution between the main and bypass flow channels. In the graphite oxidation experiments conducted at KSU, oxidation was found to increase the thermal diffusivity of nuclear grade graphite. This change is believed to be driven by oxidation decreasing graphite sample density rather than raising the thermal conductivity. Oxidation was also shown to greatly alter graphite emissivity. If large amounts of impurities have built up within the graphite over time and have significantly increased its effective ash content, then air ingress is likely to severely inhibit the radiative heat transfer abilities of the graphite due to the formation of low emissivity, ash layers on its surface. However, if the purity of the graphite at the time of the air ingress is still close to that of its virgin specifications, the oxidation induced roughening of the graphite’s outer surface would have the effect of slightly raising its emissivity. The flow laminarization phenomenon was investigated by INL by examining the results of Direct Numerical Simulations of previous experiments, and by CCNY conducting its own DNS simulations using DOE’s Nek5000 code},
doi = {10.2172/1569844},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}