Confined flow of a granular material in interaction with a gas, application to the migration of nuclear fuels
Alexandre MARTIN, doctorate of University Montpellier II, 138p., defended on the 25th february 2010
In this work, we investigate particle-gas two-phase flows in the jamming regime where the flow stops in finite time. In this regime, which occurs quite often in nature and industrial applications, the flow is stochastic and needs therefore to be characterized by the jamming probability as well as the flow rate and its fluctuations that depend on the confining geometry, granular microstructure and gas properties. We developped a numerical approach based on the coupling of the Non Smooth Contact Dynamics for the solid phase and a mesoscopic method for the gas phase. We find that the flow rate as a function of the opening is well fit by a power law in agreement with reported experimental data. The presence of a gas affects only the mean flow rate, the flow statistics being sensibly the same as in the absence of the gas. We apply our quantitative statistical results in order to estimate the relocation rate of fragmented nuclear fuel inside its cladding tube as a result of a local balloon caused by an accident (loss-of-coolant accident).