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(95w) Numerical Simulation of Particle Sedimentation Related to Nuclear Safety By CFD-DEM Algorithm

Authors: 
Park, H. S., POSTECH
Moriyama, K., POSTECH
Numerical Simulation of Particle Sedimentation related to Nuclear Safety by CFD-DEM Algorithm

Byoungcheol Hwang1, Kiyofumi Moriyama1, and Hyun Sun Park1*

1Division of Advanced Nuclear Engineering (DANE), POSTECH, Pohang, Korea

*corresponding author: hejsunny@postech.ac.kr

Abstract

The Discrete Element Method (DEM) is a technique to treat particle-particle interactions, and is used in many industries such as civil engineering, powder processing, pharmacy, and so on. Coupling of this method with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is needed in problems where the particles interacts with fluid significantly, such as bubble column reactor, mineral processing, and so on.

The simulation of important phenomena in nuclear power plant accidents that involves significant core damage and melting, i.e. so called severe accidents, is also one of the topic where the CFD-DEM is useful. After the Fukushima accident in 2011, the severe accident analysis and preparation of counter measures to mitigate the accident consequences became regulatory requirements in many countries. One of the measures for the cooling and stabilization of the molten core is the flooding of the cavity under the reactor vessel where the dropping core melt is caught in a water pool. It is expected that the molten core breaks up into particles of several millimeter sizes and accumulates on the floor, then makes a particle bed, which is hopefully coolable. In this situation, the assessment for the coolability of the particle bed is very important, and a number of experimental and analytical approached suggest that the internal/external structure of the particle bed affects strongly the coolability. The CFD-DEM is a promising candidate for an analysis method that can clarify such details of the particle bed formation.

We tested the applicability of the multiphase CFD-DEM code, an open-source developed by CFDEM®coupling in 2011, for the simulation of particle sedimentation and particle bed formation under water. Our focus in the present work is on the prediction of the particle falling characteristics and particle bed shape. Although the real condition during a severe accident includes very high temperature particles (>1000K) and boiling water (two-phase flow) in a large scale, we started with a simulation of much simple experiment cases without heat transfer or gas phase, with spherical particles only as the first step for the validation of the method. The experimental data with solid particles of various diameters (4 mm, 6 mm) and densities (3600, 6000, 7800 kg/m3), particle release nozzle diameters (20, 30, 40 mm) were referred to. The results of numerical simulation were compared with the experimental data in terms of particle falling time, maximum particle dispersion angle, particle average falling velocity, particle bed distribution, and so on. The particle falling time was well predicted by the simulation with the maximum deviation 5%. The maximum particle dispersion angle by the simulation significantly deviated from the experimental data probably due to the influences of initial disturbances. The particle average falling velocity was overestimated. The final particle bed profile by the simulation showed agreed with the experimental observation accurately in the peripheral region, but the height of the center part was underestimated. The fluid dynamic drag model and the particle-particle contact model would need improvement for better accuracy. The present work confirmed the validity of CFD-DEM algorithm on the application for the particle sedimentation in a simple liquid pool. The particle-pool interaction including the gas phase will be the next step.

Keywords: CFD-DEM; particle-fluid interaction; particle sedimentation; nuclear safety; severe accident

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