Performance of best estimate codes used in the nuclear industry can be significantly improved by reducing the empiricism embedded in their constitutive models. Spacer grids have been found to have an important impact on the maximum allowable Critical Heat Flux within the fuel assembly of a nuclear reactor core. Therefore, incorporation of suitable spacer grids models can improve the critical heat flux prediction capability of best estimate codes. Realistic modeling of entrainment behavior of spacer grids requires understanding the different mechanisms that are involved. Since visual information pertaining to the entrainment behavior of spacer grids cannot possibly be obtained from operating nuclear reactors, experiments have to be designed and conducted for this specific purpose. Most of the spacer grid experiments available in literature have been designed in view of obtaining quantitative data for the purpose of developing or modifying empirical formulations for heat transfer, critical heat flux or pressure drop. Very few experiments have been designed to provide fundamental information which can be used to understand spacer grid effects and phenomena involved in two phase flow. Air-water experiments were conducted to obtain visual information on the two-phase flow behavior both upstream and downstream of Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) spacer grids. The test section was designed and constructed using prototypic dimensions such as the channel cross-section, rod diameter and other spacer grid configurations of a typical BWR fuel assembly. The test section models the flow behavior in two adjacent sub channels in the BWR core. A portion of a prototypic BWR spacer grid accounting for two adjacent channels was used with industrial mild steel rods for the purpose of representing the channel internals. Symmetry was preserved in this practice, so that the channel walls could effectively be considered as the channel boundaries. Thin films were established on the rod surfaces by injecting water through a set of perforations at the bottom ends of the rods, ensuring that the flow upstream of the bottom-most spacer grid is predominantly annular. The flow conditions were regulated such that they represent typical BWR operating conditions. Photographs taken during experiments show that the film entrainment increases significantly at the spacer grids, since the points of contact between the rods and the grids result in a peeling off of large portions of the liquid film from the rod surfaces. Decreasing the water flow resulted in eventual drying out, beginning at positions immediately upstream of the spacer grids.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Experimental Study of Two Phase Flow Behavior Past BWR Spacer Grids
Ratnayake, RK, Hochreiter, LE, Ivanov, KN, & Cimbala, JM. "Experimental Study of Two Phase Flow Behavior Past BWR Spacer Grids." Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 3. Arlington, Virginia, USA. April 14–18, 2002. pp. 239-245. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE10-22198
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