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Characterization of sodium flow over hexagonal fuel subassemblies

International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.icheatmasstransfer.2011.04.014
  • Inter-Wrapper Flow
  • Hexagonal Flow Path
  • Pressure Drop Coefficient
  • Local Heat Transfer Coefficient


Abstract Steady flow of liquid sodium over a bundle of heat generating hexagonal subassemblies has been investigated. The cross flow pressure drop and heat transfer are characterized using the general purpose CFD code STAR-CD. Analysis has been carried out for both laminar and turbulent regimes of interest to liquid metal fast reactors. Turbulence has been modeled using low Reynolds number (Re) k– ε model. The estimated pressure drop and heat transfer coefficients are compared against that of a straight parallel plate channel. It is seen that in the low Reynolds number range, the pressure drop for the hexagonal path is nearly equal to that of the parallel plate channel for the same length. However, in the high Reynolds number range, the pressure drop of the hexagonal path is much higher than that in the parallel plate channel, the ratio being 2 at Re = 2000 while it is 3.6 at Re = 20,000. Two competing factors, viz., (i) jet impingement/flow development effect and (ii) flow separation effect are found to influence the average Nusselt number (Nu). In the laminar regime, the latter effect dominates leading to a decrease of the Nusselt number with an increase in the Reynolds number. However, in the turbulent regime, the former effect dominates leading to an increase in the Nusselt number with Reynolds number. The Nusselt number in the hexagonal path is about twice that of the parallel plate channel due to under development of velocity/temperature profiles and the recirculation associated with the hexagonal path due to the changes in flow direction. Detailed correlations for both the pressure drop and the average Nusselt number have been proposed.

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