2023 journal article
Critical Evaluation of a Novel Analysis Technique for Assessment of Printed Circuit Heat Exchangers in High-Temperature Nuclear Service
JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME, 145(3).
Abstract Application of printed circuit heat exchangers (PCHEs) to very high-temperature reactors (VHTRs) requires mechanical performance assessment methodologies. The PCHE morphology consists of thousands of millimeter-scale channels, for enhanced thermal efficiency, enclosed in a meter-scale PCHE core. PCHE geometry under thermomechanical creep-fatigue transients results in multi-axial interactions between its different segments, such as channeled core, walls, and headers. These global-level interactions influence the local channel-level responses. Hence, developing a PCHE performance assessment methodology, following the ASME Code, Section III, Division 5 provisions, is a critical gap to be filled. There is no analysis or design methodology available in ASME Code to assess a PCHE for its global and local level performances under high temperature and pressure loadings. This paper critically evaluates a recently proposed two-step analysis technique to estimate global interactions and local channel-level responses of PCHEs. In this novel analysis technique, the channeled PCHE core is replaced with orthotropic solid blocks of representative stiffness properties for the global thermomechanical analysis. Subsequent channel scale submodel analysis with detailed channel geometry, loading, and elastic-perfectly plastic (EPP) material model estimates the local responses for PCHE performance assessment. This paper critically evaluates this novel technique for its effectiveness in PCHE performance assessment. Finite element (FE) models imitating various analysis issues are developed, and FE analysis results are scrutinized. An important outcome of this study is the validation of the novel two-step PCHE analysis technique for application to the performance assessment of PCHEs in VHTRs.