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A Compact Gas Liquid Separator for the Spallation Neutron Source Mercury Process Loop...

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Journal Name
Journal of Fluids Engineering
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Upgrades at the spallation neutron source (SNS) accelerator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are underway to double its proton beam power from 1.4 to 2.8 MW. About 2 MW will go to the current first station while the rest will go to the future Second Target Station. The increase of beam power to the first target station is especially challenging for its mercury target. When the short proton beam hits the target, strong pressure waves are generated, causing cavitation erosion and challenging stresses for the target's weld regions. SNS has successfully operated reliably at 1.4 MW by mitigating the pressure wave with the injection of small Helium bubbles into the mercury. To operate reliably at 2 MW, more gas will be injected into mercury to mitigate the pressure wave further. However, the mercury process loop was not originally designed for gas injection, and the accumulation of gas in the pipes is a concern. Due to space constraints, a custom gas liquid separator (GLS) was designed to fit a 90-deg horizontal elbow space in the SNS mercury loop. Simulations and experiments were performed, and a successful design was developed that has the desired efficiency while keeping the pressure losses acceptable.