Evaluation of the enhanced thermal fluid conductivity for gas flow through structured packed pebble beds
Kgame, Tumelo Lazarus
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The High Pressure Test Unit (HPTU) forms part of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Heat Transfer Test Facility (HTTF). One of the test sections that forms part of the HPTU is the Braiding Effect Test Section (BETS). This test section allows for the evaluation of the so–called ‘braiding effect’ that occurs in fluid flow through a packed pebble bed. The braiding effect implies an apparent enhancement of the fluid thermal conductivity due to turbulent mixing that occurs as the flow criss–crosses between the pebbles. The level of enhancement of the fluid thermal conductivity is evaluated from the thermal dispersion effect. The so–called thermal dispersion quantity r K is equivalent to an effective Peclet number eff Pe based on the inverse of the effective thermal conductivity eff k . This thesis describes the experiments carried out on three different BETS test sections with pseudo–homogeneous porosities of 0.36, 0.39 and 0.45, respectively. It also provides the values derived for the enhanced fluid thermal conductivity for the range of Reynolds numbers between 1,000 and 40,000. The study includes the following: * Compilation of a literature study and theoretical background. * An uncertainty analysis to estimate the impact of instrument uncertainties on the accuracy of the empirical data. * The use of a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model to simulate the heat transfer through the BETS packed pebble bed.* Application of the CFD model combined with a numerical search technique to extract the effective fluid thermal conductivity values from the measured results. * The assessment of the results of the experiments by comparing it with the results of other investigations found in the open literature. The primary outputs of the study are the effective fluid thermal conductivity values derived from the measured data on the HPTU plant. The primary variables that were measured are the temperatures at radial positions at different axial depths inside the bed and the total mass flow rate through the test section. The maximum and minimum standard uncertainties for the measured data are 10.80% and 0.06% respectively. The overall effective thermal conductivities that were calculated at the minimum and maximum Reynolds numbers were in the order of 1.166 W/mK and 38.015 W/mK respectively. A sensitivity study was conducted on the experimental data and the CFD data. A maximum uncertainty of 5.92 % was found in the calculated effective thermal conductivities. The results show that relatively high values of thermal dispersion quantities or effective Peclet numbers are obtained for the pseudo–homogeneous packed beds when compared to randomly packed beds. Therefore, the effective thermal conductivity is low and it can be concluded that the radial mixing in the structured packing is low relative to the mixing obtained in randomly packed beds.
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