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Research Papers: Nuclear Power

Air/Water Counter-Current Flow Experiments in a Model of the Hot Leg of a Pressurized Water Reactor

[+] Author and Article Information
Christophe Vallée

Institute of Safety Research, Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e.V., P.O. Box 51 01 19, 01314 Dresden, Germanyc.vallee@fzd.de

Deendarlianto

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Gadjah Mada University, Jalan Grafika No. 2, Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia

Matthias Beyer, Dirk Lucas, Helmar Carl

Institute of Safety Research, Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf e.V., P.O. Box 51 01 19, 01314 Dresden, Germany

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 131(2), 022905 (Jan 05, 2009) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3043816 History: Received July 29, 2008; Revised July 30, 2008; Published January 05, 2009

Different scenarios of small break loss of coolant accident for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) lead to the reflux-condenser mode in which steam enters the hot leg from the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and condenses in the steam generator. A limitation of the condensate backflow toward the RPV by the steam flowing in counter current could affect the core cooling and must be prevented. The simulation of counter-current flow limitation conditions, which is dominated by 3D effects, requires the use of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. These numerical methods are not yet mature, so dedicated experimental data are needed for validation purposes. In order to investigate the two-phase flow behavior in a complex reactor-typical geometry and to supply suitable data for CFD code validation, the “hot leg model” was built at Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD). This setup is devoted to optical measurement techniques, and therefore, a flat test-section design was chosen with a width of 50 mm. The test section outlines represent the hot leg of a German Konvoi PWR at a scale of 1:3 (i.e., 250 mm channel height). The test section is mounted between two separators, one simulating the RPV and the other is connected to the steam generator inlet chamber. The hot leg model is operated under pressure equilibrium in the pressure vessel of the TOPFLOW facility of FZD. The air/water experiments presented in this article focus on the flow structure observed in the region of the riser and of the steam generator inlet chamber at room temperature and pressures up to 3 bar. The performed high-speed observations show the evolution of the stratified interface and the distribution of the two-phase mixture (droplets and bubbles). The counter-current flow limitation was quantified using the variation in the water levels measured in the separators. A confrontation with the images indicates that the initiation of flooding coincides with the reversal of the flow in the horizontal part of the hot leg. Afterward, bigger waves are generated, which develop to slugs. Furthermore, the flooding points obtained from the experiments were compared with empirical correlations available in literature. A good overall agreement was obtained, while the zero penetration was found at lower values of the gaseous Wallis parameter compared with previous work. This deviation can be attributed to the rectangular cross section of the hot leg model.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic view of the hot leg model test section (dimension in millimeters)

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Figure 2

Schematic view of the experimental apparatus

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Figure 3

Variation in the water levels in the RPV simulator (top diagram, top gray curve) and in the SG separator (top diagram, bottom black curve with points) of the air mass flow rate (bottom diagram, top gray curve with squares) and of the pressure drop over the test section (bottom diagram, bottom black curve) measured at a water mass flow rate of 0.3 kg/s and a pressure of 3.0 bar

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Figure 4

Flow behavior during the counter-current flow of air and water at a water flow rate of 0.3 kg/s and a pressure of 3.0 bar. (a) ṁG=0.27 kg/s; t=21.00 s; (b) ṁG=0.32 kg/s; t=76.59 s; and (c) ṁG=0.34 kg/s; t=97.92 s.

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Figure 5

Variation in the water levels in the SG separator (top diagram, bottom black curve with points) and in the RPV simulator (top diagram, top gray curve) of the pressure difference between the vessels (bottom diagram, bottom black curve) and of the air mass flow rate (bottom diagram, top gray curve with squares) measured at a water mass flow rate of 0.9 kg/s and a pressure of 3.0 bar

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Figure 6

Flow behavior observed during the counter-current flow experiment at a water flow rate of 0.9 kg/s and a pressure of 3.0 bar. (a) Before the onset of flooding (ṁG=0.27 kg/s; t=63.00 s); (b) at the onset of flooding (ṁG=0.30 kg/s; t=78.00 s); (c) ṁG=0.30 kg/s; t=78.60 s; (d) ṁG=0.30 kg/s; t=79.10 s; (e) ṁG=0.34 kg/s; t=96.00 s; and (f) ṁG=0.34 kg/s; t=108.90 s.

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Figure 7

Flooding diagram obtained for the hot leg model

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Figure 8

Comparison of the present data with different CCFL correlations obtained for hot leg typical geometries

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