Skip to main content

Building Initial Dynamic System Models for Digital Twins of the Cryogenic Moderator System at the ORNL Spallation Neutron Sou...

by Wesley C Williams, Elvis E Dominguez-ontiveros
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

This work describes the initial development of dynamic system models of the cryogenic moderator system (CMS) of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at ORNL as a part of the ORNL LDRD funded project Building TRANSFORM to Accelerate Digital Twin Applications for Nuclear Systems, LOIS 10563. The goal of the work is to start the dynamic system modeling effort with the end goal of using them for real-time applications as digital twins. The CMS is a cryogenic liquid hydrogen flow loop that provides moderation of the neutrons that are generated by the SNS. For optimal neutron production, the CMS needs to maintain a steady and controlled density of cryogenic hydrogen in the moderator section thus requiring precise temperature and pressure control. Due to the varied time scales and system characteristics, control of the system is complex, and diagnostics are also difficult. Difficulty in accessing the flow loop during operations, limited instrumentation and unknown design details of the equipment combine to make the case for having sophisticated digital twin models of the system. Operationally the CMS also provides a strong use case for digital twins due to the constant need of optimization and for troubleshooting/diagnostics. The large amount of data collected which are freely available for using in building the model and verifying and validating the model also makes it a great candidate for a proof-of-concept for digital twins. The project extends ORNL's capacity of development and implementation of the open-source dynamic system modeling tool TRANSFORM for engineering design and digital twin/real-time applications. Specific system configuration data for the CMS have been gathered and an initial dynamic model was created in the TRANSFORM library using Dymola as the solution platform. Models of increasing complexity are created to demonstrate the need for a multi-layered approach in digital twin modeling depending on the scale and phenomena being focused on. The dynamic modeling is shown to bring the dynamic operational aspects to the design process for systems as well as serve as a digital twin to the hardware and allow for models to be tuned and compared against real time operational data. These aims should help to push forward strategic goals of application of digital twins and increase the impact of ORNL systems modeling capabilities with TRANSFORM/Modelica for various advanced energy systems.