NUMERICAL MODELING OF TURBULENT MIXING IN CONNECTED NUCLEAR FUEL SUBCHANNELS WITH APPENDAGES
The effects of appendages on flow characteristics and scalar mixing in gap-connected twin-subchannel geometries has been assessed. The assessment considers a symmetric, rectangular compound channel geometry connected by a single rectangular gap using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Detailed numerical models (geometry and turbulence), characterizing the full test section from a reference experimental study, are generated and validated against measurements. Time varying details of the gap induced periodic structures and appendage induced vortices are captured through calculations in an unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) framework coupled with the Spalart-Allmaras (SA) turbulence model closing the RANS equations. Companion simulations are performed at each of two Reynolds numbers (2690 and 7500), one with and one without a gap-centered appendage. The appendage size modelled is representative of CANDU endplates. The appendage effects on flow characteristics and mixing are isolated through comparison of the associated simulations.
In the absence of appendages, fluid exchange between subchannels is dominated by quasi-periodic flow pulsations through the gap formed due to flow instability in the near gap region. Without a gap-centered appendage, the magnitude, frequency, and structure length of the gap flow pulsations are well predicted by the model at both Reynolds numbers. The total tracer transfer between subchannels is reasonably well predicted for Re = 2690 (within approximately 17% of the experimental value). The model fails to capture the measured increase in scalar transfer through the gap with increased Reynolds number, underpredicting scalar mixing by 55% at Re = 7500. An argument is presented that the use of an isotropic turbulence model in the channel (SA), which precludes the development of channel secondary flows, is the source of the discrepancy between modelled and measured mixing at Re = 7500.
Appendages, such as those introduced by end plates or bearing pads in CANDU fuel bundles, augment the exchange process between subchannels. With an appendage representative of a CANDU fuel bundle endplate introduced into the gap region, crossflow velocity and frequency are predicted to increase immediately downstream of the appendage due to flow diversion and vortex shedding. The higher local frequency is shown to be consistent with the vortex shedding frequency calculated for a stationary rectangular cylinder at the gap conditions. Further downstream, gap induced instabilities begin to re-establish as the dominant contributor to crossflow pulsations although they are not fully recovered by the test section exit. Mixing is augmented more by the appendage with increasing Reynolds number for the range examined.