Experimental and analytical study of thermal mixing at reactor conditions
Abstract: High-cycle thermal fatigue due to turbulent mixing of streams at distinct temperatures is an interdisciplinary issue aﬀecting safety and life extension of existing reactors together with the design of new reactors. It is challenging to model damage and thermal loads arising from the above mixing.In order to collect vast data sets for the validation of codes modeling turbulent thermal mixing under reactor conditions, temperatures were sampled at the inner surface of the vertical annular volume between two concentric 316LN stainless steel tubes. This annulus simpliﬁes that between control-rod guide tube and stem in Swedish boiling water reactors (BWRs) Oskarshamn 3 and Forsmark 3. In 2008, several stems there were reported as broken or cracked from thermal fatigue. Cold water entered the annulus at 333 K, at axial level z = 0.15 m. It moved upward and mixed with hot water, which entered the annulus at 549 K, at z = 0.80 m. Pressure read 7.2 MPa. Hot and cold inlet temperatures and pressure match BWR conditions. The thermocouples attached to the inner tube could only acquire inner-surface temperatures at six locations, so the inner tube was translated and rotated about the z-axis to expand the measurement zone.Mixing inhomogeneity was estimated from such measurements. In the cases examined, the inner-surface temperatures from areas with the highest mixing inhomogeneity show dominant frequencies lower than ten times the inverse of the experiment time.The uncertainty of this temperature measurement appears to be equal to 1.58 K.A large eddy simulation (LES) of mixing in the above annulus was conducted. Experimental boundary conditions were applied. The conjugate heat transfer between water and tubes was modeled. The wall-adapting local eddy viscosity (WALE) subgrid model was adopted. A ﬁnite element analysis (FEA) of the inner tube was performed using LES pressure and temperature as loads. Cumulative fatigue usage factors (CUFs) were estimated from FEA stress histories. To this end, the rainﬂow cycle-counting technique was applied. CUFs are highest between z = 0.65 m and z = 0.67 m. Cracking is predicted to initiate after 97 h. LES and experimental inner-surface temperatures agree reasonably well in relation to mean values, ranges, mixing inhomogeneity, and critical oscillation modes in areas sensitive to fatigue. LES inner-surface temperatures from areas with the highest CUFs show dominant frequencies lower than ten times the inverse of the simulation time.A robust, eﬀective iterative algorithm for reconstructing the transient temperature ﬁeld in the inner tube from redundant boundary data was implemented and veriﬁed. Temperature-dependent properties were included. Initial conditions and over-speciﬁed boundary data in the inverse problem were perturbed with Gaussian noise to check the robustness of the solving method to noise.
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