Various flow regimes exist in a boiling water reactor (BWR) as the steam quality increases in the uprising coolant flow, from bubbly flow, slug/churn flow, to annular flow. The annular flow is characterized by the presence of a fast-moving gas core and the surrounding liquid film flowing on the conduit wall. In addition, entrained droplets can be observed in the gas core with ingested bubbles in the liquid film. The dynamics occurring on the wavy interface between the liquid film and gas core plays a crucial role in affecting the heat transfer rate and pressure drop within the BWR core. However, a fundamental understanding of annular flow is still lacking, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining detailed local data in annular flow experiments.

In the current study, a novel simulation framework is developed for the annular flow by coupling a computational fluid dynamics flow solver with state-of-the-art meshing software. The gas-liquid interface is tracked with the level set method. Based on the computed flow solutions, the computational mesh is dynamically adapted in memory to meet the local mesh resolution requirement. This iterative simulation-adaptation framework can ensure the fine mesh resolution across the interface, which not only helps mitigate the mass conservation degradation known to level set methods but also improves the representation of dramatic interface topological changes such as wave breaking and droplet entrainment. The present investigation will shed light onto the complex interfacial processes involved in annular flow and generate much needed simulation data for annular flow modeling.