Isothermal Gas-liquid Flow Using the Lattice Boltzmann Method
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As the operating conditions of the pressurized water reactor (PWR) have been increased towards the thermal limits of the core for economics, the subcooled boiling heat transfer performance of the rod bundles under normal operating conditions has become an increasingly important design focus. Effective field models such as two-fluid model, on which most previous numerical studies in the nuclear fields have focused, cannot predict detailed phenomenon of subcooled boiling because it involves complex multiphase dynamics, such as nucleation, growth, detachment bubbles from a wall, deformation, break-up, coalescence, and condensation. It also requires numerous, additional closure relations. On the other hand, direct numerical simulations with interfacial tracking enable us to capture specific two-phase flow and do not require additional empirical closure relations. In this thesis, we simulate isothermal, two-dimensional bubble dynamics as a starting point toward direct simulation of the subcooled boiling. We adopt a lattice Boltzmann method with the phase-field model. The lattice Boltzmann method is a mesoscopic approach well-adapted to the simulation of complex fluids and is simple to implement. The phase field model can capture complex topological deformation, such as coalescence and break-up, with better numerical stability than other interfacial tracking methods like Volume of Fluid (VOF) and level set methods. We validate the present method for stationary and moving two-phase interfaces by comparing with theoretical solutions for a single static bubble in a stationary liquid and a capillary wave, respectively. In addition, the capability of the current method to simulate the coalescence of two bubbles and droplets is validated by comparing with experimental data. To see the applicability of the method to problems involving complex bubble behaviors and interactions with a high-density ratio as in subcooled boiling water, we simulate rising single and double bubbles in a viscous fluid. For a single bubble problem, the bubble shapes and terminal velocity agreed well with the experimental results for different fluid dynamic conditions. For a double bubble case, the current method can capture the interaction and dynamics of the bubbles. Thus, it is expected that this study can serve as a stepping-stone extension to convective subcooled boiling heat transfer in the nuclear reactor core.
Kim, Donghoon (2011). Isothermal Gas-liquid Flow Using the Lattice Boltzmann Method. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from