Experimental study on hot-leg U-bend two-phase natural circulation in a loop with a large diameter pipe

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
Journal / PublicationNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


In relation to nuclear reactor accident and safety studies, experiments on hot-leg U-bend two-phase natural circulation in a loop with a relatively large diameter pipe (10.2 cm inner diameter) were performed for understanding the two-phase natural circulation and flow termination during a small break loss of coolant accident in LWRs. The loop design was based on the scaling criteria developed under this program and the loop was operated either in a natural circulation mode or in a forced circulation mode using nitrogen gas and water. Various tests were carried out to establish the basic mechanism of the flow termination as well as to obtain essential information on scale effects of various parameters such as the loop frictional resistance, thermal center and pipe diameter. The void distribution in a hot-leg, flow regime and natural circulation rate were measured in detail for various conditions. The termination of the natural circulation occurred when there was insufficient hydrostatic head in the downcomer side. The superficial gas velocity at the flow termination could be predicted well by the simple model derived from a force balance between the frictional pressure drop along the loop and the hydrostatic head difference. The bubbly-to-slug flow transition was found to be dependent on axial locations. It turned out that the formation of cap bubbles in the large diameter pipe caused the increased drift velocity, which would affect the prediction of the void fraction in the hot leg.

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