CFD Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Bundles and Spacer Grids for PWR Reactors
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The analysis of the turbulent flows in nuclear fuel bundles is a very interesting task to optimize the efficiency of modern nuclear power plants. The proposed study utilizes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to characterize the flow pattern generated in a fuel bundle with Spacer Grids (SG) and Mixing Vanes (MV). CFD calculations were performed using different turbulence models for steady state simulations. Large Eddy Simulations (LES) scheme was applied to time dependent cases. The simulations were compared with the experimental data measured at Texas A&M University fuel bundle experimental facility. Also, another objective is to develop some new coarse mesh approaches for modeling MV to include these structures in the prospective of quarter of core simulations; MV and SG are usually modeled with porous media, since the computational power required to solve the full geometry is still unacceptable. The new contribution of the study is the definition and implementation of a Momentum Sources Forcing approach that allows a detailed definition of MV and SG for coarse mesh calculations. The proposed method was investigated using different turbulence models and different numerical schemes. Also, LES calculations allowed the study of Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI), that generates vibration problems and failure of nuclear fuel pins. A spectral analysis of the forces acting on the fuel pins walls was developed. In conclusion, a comprehensive study of fuel bundle problem was proposed with benchmark of the computational techniques to the experimental data.
Capone, Luigi (2012). CFD Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Bundles and Spacer Grids for PWR Reactors. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from