Characterisation of thermal radiation in the near-wall region of a packed pebble bed
De Beer, Maritza
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The heat transfer phenomena in the near-wall region of a randomly packed pebble bed are important in the design of a Pebble Bed Reactor (PBR), especially when considering the safety case during accident conditions. At higher temperatures the contribution of the radiation heat transfer component to the overall heat transfer in a PBR increases significantly. The wall effect present in the near-wall region of a packed pebble bed affects the heat transfer in this region. Various correlations exist to predict the effective thermal conductivity through a packed pebble bed, but not all of the correlations consider the contribution of radiation and some are only applicable to the bulk region. Experimental research has been done on the heat transfer through a packed pebble bed. However, most of the results are case specific and cannot necessarily be used to validate models or simulations to predict the effective thermal conductivity of a pebble bed. The objective of this study is to develop a methodology that uses experimental work together with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to predict the effective thermal conductivity in the near-wall region of a randomly packed pebble bed, and to separate the conduction and radiation components of the effective thermal conductivity. The proposed methodology inter alia includes experimental tests and the calibration of a CFD model to obtain numerical results that correlate well with the experimental results. To illustrate the proposed methodology the newly constructed Near-wall Effect Thermal Conductivity Test Facility (NWETCTF) was used to gather experimental results for the temperature and heat transfer distribution through a randomly packed pebble bed. Two identical but separate experimental tests were performed and the results of the two tests were in good agreement. From the experimental results the effective thermal conductivity was derived. The effect of the near-wall region on the heat transfer and the significance of radiation at higher temperatures are evident from the results. Recommendations were made for future experimental work with the NWETCTF from the findings of the investigation. A numerically packed pebble bed that is representative of the experimental pebble bed was generated using the Discrete Element Method (DEM) and a CFD model was set up for the heat transfer through the pebble bed using STAR-CCM+.. The CFD results showed trends similar to that of the experimental results. However, some discrepancies were identified that must be addressed in future studies by calibrating the CFD model. The effective thermal conductivity for the numerical simulation was determined using the CFD results and the conduction and radiation components were separated.
- Engineering