skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Interface Tracking Investigation of Geometric Effects on the Bubbly Flow in PWR Subchannels

Abstract

We report that absorbing heat from the fuel rod surface, water as coolant can undergo subcooled boiling within a pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel rod bundle. Because of the buoyancy effect, the vapor bubbles generated will then rise along and interact with the subchannel geometries. Reliable prediction of bubble behavior is of immense importance to ensure safe and stable reactor operation. However, given a complex engineering system like a nuclear reactor, it is very challenging (if not impossible) to conduct high-resolution measurements to study bubbly flows under reactor operation conditions. The lack of a fundamental two-phase-flow database is hindering the development of accurate two-phase-flow models required in more advanced reactor designs. In response to this challenge, first-principles–based numerical simulations are emerging as an attractive alternative to produce a complementary data source along with experiments. Leveraged by the unprecedented computing power offered by state-of-the-art supercomputers, direct numerical simulation (DNS), coupled with interface tracking methods, is becoming a practical tool to investigate some of the most challenging engineering flow problems. In the presented research, turbulent bubbly flow is simulated via DNS in single PWR subchannel geometries with auxiliary structures (e.g., supporting spacer grid and mixing vanes). The geometric effects these structures exertmore » on the bubbly flow are studied with both a conventional time-averaging approach and a novel dynamic bubble tracking method. Lastly, the new insights obtained will help inform better two-phase models that can contribute to safer and more efficient nuclear reactor systems.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
  2. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  3. Cenaero, Gosselies (Belgium); Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL); Argonne National Laboratory - Argonne Leadership Computing Facility - Early Science Program
OSTI Identifier:
1491828
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Science and Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 193; Journal Issue: 1-2; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5639
Publisher:
American Nuclear Society - Taylor & Francis
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; Bubble Tracking; DNS; Interface Tracking; Subchannel Geometry; Two-Phase Flow

Citation Formats

Fang, Jun, Cambareri, Joseph J., Rasquin, Michel, Gouws, Andre, Balakrishnan, Ramesh, Jansen, Kenneth E., and Bolotnov, Igor A. Interface Tracking Investigation of Geometric Effects on the Bubbly Flow in PWR Subchannels. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1080/00295639.2018.1499280.
Fang, Jun, Cambareri, Joseph J., Rasquin, Michel, Gouws, Andre, Balakrishnan, Ramesh, Jansen, Kenneth E., & Bolotnov, Igor A. Interface Tracking Investigation of Geometric Effects on the Bubbly Flow in PWR Subchannels. United States. doi:10.1080/00295639.2018.1499280.
Fang, Jun, Cambareri, Joseph J., Rasquin, Michel, Gouws, Andre, Balakrishnan, Ramesh, Jansen, Kenneth E., and Bolotnov, Igor A. Fri . "Interface Tracking Investigation of Geometric Effects on the Bubbly Flow in PWR Subchannels". United States. doi:10.1080/00295639.2018.1499280. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1491828.
@article{osti_1491828,
title = {Interface Tracking Investigation of Geometric Effects on the Bubbly Flow in PWR Subchannels},
author = {Fang, Jun and Cambareri, Joseph J. and Rasquin, Michel and Gouws, Andre and Balakrishnan, Ramesh and Jansen, Kenneth E. and Bolotnov, Igor A.},
abstractNote = {We report that absorbing heat from the fuel rod surface, water as coolant can undergo subcooled boiling within a pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel rod bundle. Because of the buoyancy effect, the vapor bubbles generated will then rise along and interact with the subchannel geometries. Reliable prediction of bubble behavior is of immense importance to ensure safe and stable reactor operation. However, given a complex engineering system like a nuclear reactor, it is very challenging (if not impossible) to conduct high-resolution measurements to study bubbly flows under reactor operation conditions. The lack of a fundamental two-phase-flow database is hindering the development of accurate two-phase-flow models required in more advanced reactor designs. In response to this challenge, first-principles–based numerical simulations are emerging as an attractive alternative to produce a complementary data source along with experiments. Leveraged by the unprecedented computing power offered by state-of-the-art supercomputers, direct numerical simulation (DNS), coupled with interface tracking methods, is becoming a practical tool to investigate some of the most challenging engineering flow problems. In the presented research, turbulent bubbly flow is simulated via DNS in single PWR subchannel geometries with auxiliary structures (e.g., supporting spacer grid and mixing vanes). The geometric effects these structures exert on the bubbly flow are studied with both a conventional time-averaging approach and a novel dynamic bubble tracking method. Lastly, the new insights obtained will help inform better two-phase models that can contribute to safer and more efficient nuclear reactor systems.},
doi = {10.1080/00295639.2018.1499280},
journal = {Nuclear Science and Engineering},
number = 1-2,
volume = 193,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Scalable Implicit Flow Solver for Realistic Wing Simulations with Flow Control
journal, November 2014

  • Rasquin, Michel; Smith, Cameron; Chitale, Kedar
  • Computing in Science & Engineering, Vol. 16, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1109/MCSE.2014.75

A front-tracking method for viscous, incompressible, multi-fluid flows
journal, May 1992


Numerical simulation of flows in tight-lattice fuel bundles
journal, July 2008


Direct numerical simulations of flows with phase change
journal, February 2005


Improving Unstructured Mesh Partitions for Multiple Criteria Using Mesh Adjacencies
journal, January 2018

  • Smith, Cameron W.; Rasquin, Michel; Ibanez, Dan
  • SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, Vol. 40, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1137/15M1027814

Modeling and simulation challenges pursued by the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL)
journal, May 2016


Interface tracking simulations of bubbly flows in PWR relevant geometries
journal, February 2017


Direct numerical simulation of reactor two-phase flows enabled by high-performance computing
journal, April 2018


A stabilized finite element method for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations using a hierarchical basis
journal, January 2001


A physics based multiscale modeling of cavitating flows
journal, March 2017


Volume of fluid (VOF) method for the dynamics of free boundaries
journal, January 1981


Computation of incompressible bubble dynamics with a stabilized finite element level set method
journal, October 2005

  • Nagrath, Sunitha; Jansen, Kenneth E.; Lahey, Richard T.
  • Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Vol. 194, Issue 42-44
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.cma.2004.11.012

Fronts propagating with curvature-dependent speed: Algorithms based on Hamilton-Jacobi formulations
journal, November 1988


Detached direct numerical simulations of turbulent two-phase bubbly channel flow
journal, July 2011


Brief Review of Latest Direct Numerical Simulation on pool and film Boiling
journal, December 2012


Direct Numerical Simulation of Pebble Bed Flows: Database Development and Investigation of Low-Frequency Temporal Instabilities
journal, February 2017

  • Fick, Lambert H.; Merzari, Elia; Hassan, Yassin A.
  • Journal of Fluids Engineering, Vol. 139, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1115/1.4035300

The Fundamentals of the Statistical Theory of Turbulence
journal, February 1937

  • Karman, Th. Von
  • Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences, Vol. 4, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.2514/8.350

Validation of the U.S. NRC Coupled Code System TRITON/TRACE/PARCS Using the Special Power Excursion Reactor Test III
journal, September 2013

  • Wang, Raymond C.; Xu, Yunlin; Hudson, Nathanael
  • Nuclear Technology, Vol. 183, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.13182/NT13-A19437

An Evaluation of the Departure from Nucleate Boiling in Bundles of Reactor Fuel Rods
journal, July 1968


A theoretical basis for the Lockhart-Martinelli correlation for two-phase flow
journal, December 1967


Estimation of Shear-Induced Lift Force in Laminar and Turbulent Flows
journal, June 2015

  • Thomas, Aaron M.; Fang, Jun; Feng, Jinyong
  • Nuclear Technology, Vol. 190, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.13182/NT14-72

A continuum method for modeling surface tension
journal, June 1992


Bubble tracking analysis of PWR two-phase flow simulations based on the level set method
journal, November 2017


New Simulation Schemes and Capabilities for the PHISICS/RELAP5-3D Coupled Suite
journal, January 2016

  • Rabiti, C.; Alfonsi, A.; Epiney, A.
  • Nuclear Science and Engineering, Vol. 182, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.13182/NSE14-143

Evaluation of bubble-induced turbulence using direct numerical simulation
journal, July 2017


Influence of Bubbles on the Turbulence Anisotropy
journal, April 2013

  • Bolotnov, Igor A.
  • Journal of Fluids Engineering, Vol. 135, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1115/1.4023651

A Level Set Approach for Computing Solutions to Incompressible Two-Phase Flow
journal, September 1994

  • Sussman, Mark; Smereka, Peter; Osher, Stanley
  • Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 114, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1006/jcph.1994.1155

Statistical Mechanics of Fluid Mixtures
journal, May 1935

  • Kirkwood, John G.
  • The Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 3, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1749657

On the Development of Multidimensional Two-Fluid Models for Vapor/Liquid Two-Phase Flows
journal, November 1992