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Experimental Investigation on Bubble Turbulent Diffusion in a Vertical Large-Diameter Pipe by Wire-Mesh Sensors and Correlation Techniques

Annalisa Manera, Horst-Michael Prasser, Dirk Lucas

Nuclear Technology / Volume 158 / Number 2 / May 2007 / Pages 275-290

Technical Paper / Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics /

Experiments with air-water flows have been carried out in a vertical pipe of ~194-mm diameter and 9-m length, and a wide range of superficial liquid and gas velocities has been covered. At a distance of 7.6 m from the air injection, two wire-mesh sensors are installed, located at a distance of 63.3 mm from each other. The wire-mesh sensors measure sequences of instantaneous two-dimensional gas-fraction distributions in the cross section in which they are mounted, with a spatial resolution of 3 mm and a frequency of 2500 Hz. The spatial cross-correlations of the gas-fraction signals have been evaluated, and on their basis turbulent diffusion coefficients have been estimated.

It is found that for a given liquid superficial velocity, a sudden increase of the diffusion coefficient takes place when the superficial gas velocity is increased above a certain value. The abrupt increase of the diffusion coefficient occurs in correspondence of the transition from mono- to bimodal bubble size distributions.

The experimental diffusion coefficients are compared with the prediction of the Sato model (experimental gas-fraction profiles and bubble size distributions are given as input). Even though this model has been developed for bubbly flow, the general trends are well captured also in the churn-turbulent regime.

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