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Study on transient boiling in the context of RIA accident

​Valentin Scheiff has defended his thesis on 13th December 2018 at IMFT, in Toulouse (France).

Document type > *Mémoire/HDR/Thesis

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/PSN-RES/SEMIA/LIMAR

Authors > SCHEIFF Valentin

Publication Date > 13/12/2018

Summary

The study of rapid transient boiling is an important issue in the nuclear safety. Such a phenomenon may occur in the case of a RIA (Reactivity Initiated Accident) in the core of a nuclear reactor power plant, where a power excursion can trigger the formation of a vapour film around the fuel rod, leading to an important rise of the rod temperature and a risk of failure.


Some studies in reactor conditions provided transient boiling curves but the modelling lacks of reliability. In collaboration with the IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire) an experiment model was built at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of Toulouse. It generates the flow of a refrigerant, HFE7000, in a semi-annular section channel, whose inner wall is made of a metal foil rapidly heated by Joule effect, simulating the heating of a fuel rod.

Infrared thermography is used to measure the temperature of the metal foil, painted with a black paint to increase its emissivity, causing also an increase of the wall thermal resistance. The measurement accuracy of the interest temperature has been optimized according to the paint thickness and a correction on the energy balance takes account this parameter. These measurements are coupled with a high-speed camera that allows visualizing the boiling regimes and get bubble sizes using image processing algorithms.

On a flux-temperature diagram, the heat transfers are represented both for steady and transient regimes. Each boiling regime is then reviewed : convection, onset of nucleate boiling, nucleate boiling, boiling crisis, film boiling and rewetting.


Steady regimes are correctly modelled by usual correlations. Transient convection is characterized over the whole wall and its evolution is closed to the quasi-steady solution. It is shown that heat transfer during the transition to nucleate boiling are strongly related to the formation of a large vapour phase that spreads on the wall. A local study of this propagation is then necessary. In order to simulate and control transient temperature during nucleate boiling, a P.I.D. is implemented to impose a steady or ramps temperature (from 5 to 500 K.s−1). The results in nucleate boiling make it possible to recover the results of the literature in both steady and transient conditions. The experiment allows to study the heat transfer when a vapour film is formed and insulates the wall. The film boiling regime during heating or the cooling of the wall can thus be stabilized for several seconds with this system. The conditions for triggering of film boiling are thus characterized, as its spread dynamic and its transfers once established.


Finally, the implementation of the physical characteristics of our experience in IRSN’s SCANAIR code allows us to begin to calculate and compare our experimental results with numerical simulations. Unsteady conduction calculations are applied to the measured temperature to analyse our results during the convection regime and after the onset of boiling.

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