Isothermal Air Ingress Validation Experiments
NURETH-14 - 2011 September 25-30

Presented at:
2011 September 25-30
Toronto, Canada
Session Title:
G4-1 - Gas Cooled Fast Reactors and Very High Temperature Reactors; CFD Calculations

Chang Oh (Idaho National Laboratory)
Eung Kim (Idaho National Laboratory)


Idaho National Laboratory carried out air ingress experiments as part of validating computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations. An isothermal test loop was designed and set to understand the stratified-flow phenomenon, which is important as the initial air flow into the lower plenum of the very high temperature gas cooled reactor (VHTR) when a large break loss-of-coolant accident occurs. The unique flow characteristics were focused on the VHTR air-ingress accident, in particular, the flow visualization of the stratified flow in the inlet pipe to the vessel lower plenum of the General Atomic’s Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR). Brine and sucrose were used as heavy fluids, and water was used to represent a light fluid, which mimics a counter current flow due to the density difference between the stimulant fluids. The density ratios were changed between 0.87 and 0.98. This experiment clearly showed that a stratified flow between simulant fluids was established even for very small density differences. The CFD calculations were compared with experimental data. A grid sensitivity study on CFD models was also performed using the Richardson extrapolation and the grid convergence index method for the numerical accuracy of CFD calculations . As a result, the calculated current speed showed very good agreement with the experimental data, indicating that the current CFD methods are suitable for predicting density gradient stratified flow phenomena in the air-ingress accident.

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