Results from Tight and Loose Coupled Multiphysics in Nuclear Fuels Performance Simulations using BISON

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The behavior of nuclear fuel in the reactor environment is affected by multiple physics, most notably heat conduction and solid mechanics, which can have a strong influence on each other. To provide credible solutions, a fuel performance simulation code must have the ability to obtain solutions for each of the physics, including coupling between them. Solution strategies for solving systems of coupled equations can be categorized as loosely-coupled, where the individual physics are solved separately, keeping the solutions for the other physics fixed at each iteration, or tightly coupled, where the nonlinear solver simultaneously drives down the residual for each ... continued below

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Novascone, S. R.; Spencer, B. W.; Andrs, D.; Williamson, R. L.; Hales, J. D. & Perez, D. M. May 1, 2013.

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The behavior of nuclear fuel in the reactor environment is affected by multiple physics, most notably heat conduction and solid mechanics, which can have a strong influence on each other. To provide credible solutions, a fuel performance simulation code must have the ability to obtain solutions for each of the physics, including coupling between them. Solution strategies for solving systems of coupled equations can be categorized as loosely-coupled, where the individual physics are solved separately, keeping the solutions for the other physics fixed at each iteration, or tightly coupled, where the nonlinear solver simultaneously drives down the residual for each physics, taking into account the coupling between the physics in each nonlinear iteration. In this paper, we compare the performance of loosely and tightly coupled solution algorithms for thermomechanical problems involving coupled thermal and mechanical contact, which is a primary source of interdependence between thermal and mechanical solutions in fuel performance models. The results indicate that loosely-coupled simulations require significantly more nonlinear iterations, and may lead to convergence trouble when the thermal conductivity of the gap is too small. We also apply the tightly coupled solution strategy to a nuclear fuel simulation of an experiment in a test reactor. Studying the results from these simulations indicates that perhaps convergence for either approach may be problem dependent, i.e., there may be problems for which a loose coupled approach converges, where tightly coupled won’t converge and vice versa.

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  • Mathematics & Computation 2013,Sun Valley Idaho,05/05/2013,05/09/2013

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-13-28275
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1082387
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc839251

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  • May 1, 2013

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  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 5:39 p.m.

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Novascone, S. R.; Spencer, B. W.; Andrs, D.; Williamson, R. L.; Hales, J. D. & Perez, D. M. Results from Tight and Loose Coupled Multiphysics in Nuclear Fuels Performance Simulations using BISON, article, May 1, 2013; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc839251/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.