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Enhanced Natural Convection in a Metal Layer Cooled by Boiling Water

Jae-Seon Cho, Kune Y. Suh, Chang-Hyun Chung, Rae-Joon Park, Sang-Baik Kim

Nuclear Technology

Volume 148 / Number 3 / December 2004 / Pages 313-324


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An experimental study is performed to investigate the natural convection heat transfer characteristics and the solidification of the molten metal pool concurrently with forced convective boiling of the overlying coolant to simulate a severe accident in a nuclear power plant. The relationship between the Nusselt number (Nu) and the Rayleigh number (Ra) in the molten metal pool region is determined and compared with the correlations in the literature and experimental data with subcooled water. Given the same Ra condition, the present experimental results for Nu of the liquid metal pool with coolant boiling are found to be higher than those predicted by the existing correlations or measured from the experiment with subcooled boiling. To quantify the observed effect of the external cooling on the natural convection heat transfer rate from the molten pool, it is proposed to include an additional dimensionless group characterizing the temperature gradients in the molten pool and in the external coolant region. Starting from the Globe and Dropkin correlation, engineering correlations are developed for the enhancement of heat transfer in the molten metal pool when cooled by an overlying coolant. The new correlations for predicting natural convection heat transfer are applicable to low-Prandtl-number (Pr) materials that are heated from below and solidified by the external coolant above. Results from this study may be used to modify the current model in severe accident analysis codes.

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