Analysis of granular flow in a pebble-bed nuclear reactor

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Pebble-bed nuclear reactor technology, which is currently being revived around the world, raises fundamental questions about dense granular flow in silos. A typical reactor core is composed of graphite fuel pebbles, which drain very slowly in a continuous refueling process. Pebble flow is poorly understood and not easily accessible to experiments, and yet it has a ma jor impact on reactor physics. To address this problem, we perform full-scale, discrete-element simulations in realistic geometries, with up to 440,000 frictional, viscoelastic 6cm-diameter spheres draining in a cylindrical vessel of diameter 3.5m and height 10m with bottom funnels angled at 30◦ or ... continued below

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Rycroft, C. H.; Grest, Gary S.; Landry, James W. & Bazant, Martin Z. April 17, 2006.

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    Place of Publication: United States

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Pebble-bed nuclear reactor technology, which is currently being revived around the world, raises fundamental questions about dense granular flow in silos. A typical reactor core is composed of graphite fuel pebbles, which drain very slowly in a continuous refueling process. Pebble flow is poorly understood and not easily accessible to experiments, and yet it has a ma jor impact on reactor physics. To address this problem, we perform full-scale, discrete-element simulations in realistic geometries, with up to 440,000 frictional, viscoelastic 6cm-diameter spheres draining in a cylindrical vessel of diameter 3.5m and height 10m with bottom funnels angled at 30◦ or 60◦ . We also simulate a bidisperse core with a dynamic central column of smaller graphite moderator pebbles and show that little mixing occurs down to a 1:2 diameter ratio. We analyze the mean velocity, diffusion and mixing, local ordering and porosity (from Voronoi volumes), the residence-time distribution, and the effects of wall friction and discuss implications for reactor design and the basic physics of granular flow.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/25530-5
  • Grant Number: FG02-02ER25530
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 882198
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875761

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • April 17, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 4, 2016, 5:43 p.m.

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Rycroft, C. H.; Grest, Gary S.; Landry, James W. & Bazant, Martin Z. Analysis of granular flow in a pebble-bed nuclear reactor, text, April 17, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875761/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.