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Experimental Study of Two-Phase Flow Oscillation in Natural Circulation

S. Y. Jiang, X. X. Wu, Y. J. Zhang

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 135 / Number 2 / June 2000 / Pages 177-189


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The experiment was performed on the test loop HRTL-5, which simulates the geometry and system design of the 5-MW nuclear heating reactor developed by the Institute of Nuclear Energy Technology, Tsinghua University. The flow behavior for a wide range of inlet subcoolings, in which the flow experience varies from single- to two-phase, is described in a natural circulation system at different pressures (p = 0.1, 0.24, and 1.5 MPa). Several kinds of flow instability are investigated, including geysering, flashing-related flow instability, and high-frequency flow oscillation at p = 0.1 and 0.24 MPa, as well as low steam quality density wave oscillation at p = 1.5 MPa. The mechanisms of geysering, which has new features, and flashing-related flow instability, which has never been studied well enough in this field, are particularly interpreted. The experimental results show the following: First, for a low-pressure natural circulation system, the two-phase flow is unstable in most inlet subcooling conditions, and the two-phase stable flow can be reached only with very low inlet subcoolings. Second, at high inlet subcoolings, the flow instability is dominated by subcooling boiling in the heated section, and at intermediate inlet subcoolings, it is dominated by void flashing in the adiabatic long riser. Third, in the two-phase stable flow region, the conditions for boiling out of the core, namely, single-phase flow in the heated section and two-phase flow in the riser due to vapor flashing, can be realized. The experimental results are of significance for the design and accident analysis of vessel and swimming pool-type natural circulation nuclear heating reactors.

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