Multidimensional Modeling of Flow & Heat Transfer to CO2 at Supercritical Pressures

by T. Gallaway, M. Z. Podowski, & S. P. Antal
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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The Generation IV Advanced Reactor Design Program includes using fluids at supercritical conditions as a reactor coolant. The Supercritical Water Reactor (SCWR) is currently of primary interest, however the Supercritical CO2 Reactor is also under investigation. CO2 at supercritical conditions has also been shown to be a viable simulant fluid for the SCWR. Using fluids at supercritical conditions as a reactor coolant will significantly increase the overall efficiency of the Rankine cycle as well as simplify plant designs by eliminating the need for equipment such as steam generators, steam dryers, and steam separators. At supercritical pressures, phase change does not occur in heated channels, however the fluid properties undergo significant variations with the enthalpy. Understanding the effect of these property variations on turbulence is key to predicting the flow and heat transfer in systems cooled with supercritical fluids. The current study was concerned with investigating the predictive capabilities of turbulence models of the k-ε type for fluids at supercritical pressures. These models have been implemented in the NPHASE-CMFD code and tested against experimental data from the SPHINX test facility at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute.