Theoretical and experimental study of inverted annular film boiling and regime transition during reflood transients

Open Access
Mohanta, Lokanath
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 13, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Fan Bill B Cheung, Dissertation Advisor
  • Fan Bill B Cheung, Committee Chair
  • Savas Yavuzkurt, Committee Member
  • Cengiz Camci, Committee Member
  • Timothy Francis Miller, Committee Member
  • Stephen M Bajorek, Special Member
  • Two-phase heat transfer
  • Subcooled flow film boiling
  • Regime Transition
  • Rod bundle
  • Spacer Grid
  • Stability of Co-axial jets
The Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA) is a design basis accident for light water reactors that usually determines the limits on core power. During a LOCA, film boiling is the dominant mode of heat transfer prior to the quenching of the fuel rods. The study of film boiling is important because this mode of heat transfer determines if the core can be safely cooled. One important film boiling regime is the so-called Inverted Annular Film Boiling (IAFB) regime which is characterized by a liquid core downstream of the quench front enveloped by a vapor film separating it from the fuel rod. Much research have been conducted for IAFB, but these studies have been limited to steady state experiments in single tubes. In the present work, subcooled and saturated IAFB are investigated using high temperature reflood data from the experiments carried out in the Rod Bundle Heat Transfer (RBHT) test facility. Parametric effects of system parameters including the pressure, inlet subcooling, and flooding rate on the heat transfer are investigated. The heat transfer behavior during transition to Inverted Slug Film Boiling (ISFB) regime is studied and is found to be different than that reported in previous studies. The effects of spacer grids on heat transfer in the IAFB and ISFB regimes are also presented. Currently design basis accidents are evaluated with codes in which heat transfer and wall drag must be calculated with local flow parameters. The existing models for heat transfer are applicable up to a void fraction of 0.6, i.e. in the IAFB regime and there is no heat transfer correlation for ISFB. A new semi-empirical heat transfer model is developed covering the IAFB and ISFB regimes which is valid for a void fraction up to 90% using the local flow variables. The mean absolute percentage error in predicting the RBHT data is 11% and root mean square error is 15%. This new semi-empirical model is found to compare well with the reflood data of FLECHT-SEASET experiments as well as data from single tube experiments. The root mean square error in predicting the FLECHT-SEASET data is 20% whereas for single tube data it is 12%. In previous studies, the transition criterion from the IAFB to the ISFB regime is purely empirical. In this work, a theoretical stability analysis of a liquid jet co-flowing with its vapor in a tube is carried out to seek a better understanding of the underlying physics of the regime transition. The effect of heat and mass transfer at the interface is included in the stability analysis. Also, the effect of viscous force is included in the stability analysis, by employing the viscous potential flow method. The wavelength that is responsible for breakup of the liquid core in IAFB is predicted in the present analysis and is compared with the adiabatic experiments of IAFB from the literature. The effects of various controlling parameters including the relative Weber number, vapor Reynolds number, velocity ratio, density ratio and viscosity ratio of vapor and liquid are studied to understand the physics of transition. Finally a physics-based heat transfer model is proposed for heat transfer in the ISFB regime using the wavelength obtained from the stability analysis.