2023 article

Toward Improved Correlations for Mixed Convection in the Downcomer of Molten Salt Reactors

Nguyen, T., Merzari, E., Tai, C.-K., Bolotnov, I. A., & Jackson, B. (2023, July 20). NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY.

By: T. Nguyen*, E. Merzari*, C. Tai n, I. Bolotnov n & B. Jackson*

author keywords: Direct numerical simulation; FLiBe; NekRS; Nusselt number; correlation; >
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 7, 2023

Developing heat transfer correlations for buoyancy-driven flows and mixed convection is challenging, especially if the fluid's Prandtl (Pr) number is not close to 1. For advanced nuclear reactor (Generation IV) designs, the downcomer plays a crucial role in normal operation and loss-of-power scenarios. The fluid-flow behavior in the downcomer can involve forced, mixed, or natural convection. Characterizing the heat transfer for these changing regimes is a serious challenge, especially in the heat transfer deterioration region. In this paper, the downcomer is simplified to heated parallel plates. The high–Pr number fluid FLiBe (a mixture of lithium fluoride and beryllium fluoride) is considered for all simulations. Direct numerical simulations using the graphics processing unit–based spectral element code NekRS are performed for a wide range of the Richardson number, from 0 to 400, at two different FLiBe Pr numbers (12 and 24). This results in an unprecedented 74 cases in total. Each case's Nusselt number is calculated to evaluate existing heat transfer correlations.Moreover, we propose several new modifications for cases without satisfactory choice. As a result, several novel mixed-convection heat transfer correlations have been built for high–Pr number fluids. The correlations are expressed as a function of the buoyancy number, covering several mixed-convection regimes. The Pr number effect on the Nusselt number behavior is also analyzed in detail. We also propose a novel method to evaluate the heat transfer deterioration region. Modified Reynolds-Gnielinski forced-convection correlations are defined for the laminarization region, and a free-convection correlation is used for the natural-convection-dominated region. These correlations can describe well the trend in the heat transfer–deficient region.