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High-fidelity pool boiling simulations on multiple nucleation sites using interface capturing method...

by Yuqiao Fan, Mengnan Li, William D Pointer, Igor Bolotnov
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Nuclear Engineering and Design
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Boiling has proved to be one of the most efficient means for heat transfer and is a very important phenomenon during severe accident scenarios in light water reactors. High-fidelity pool boiling simulations can provide a numerical database for improving mechanistic boiling models by allowing for specific evaluation of interactions among bubbles. Previously published pool boiling simulations investigated two nucleation sites in which bubble growth at one site suppressed nucleation at the other site. Based on previous study results, more complicated interface-capturing simulations on pool boiling were conducted using PHASTA code with locally refined unstructured mesh.

First, different boundary conditions (BCs) were assessed to support robustness and reproducibility of the boiling model. Then, a scale study was conducted at a larger domain with nine nucleation sites where either nine or four nucleation sites are activated. Involving more nucleation sites increased the complexity of bubble interactions from surrounding sites. Finally, bubble departure behavior influenced by wall heat flux was investigated. When heat flux was increased, the order of bubble departure changed, but diagonal bubbles always departed after one another. The departure time interval between the first and second bubble reduced as heat flux increased. The corresponding frequency was almost linearly proportional to the heat flux. In addition, bubble departure behavior was found to be greatly influenced by the nucleation site pattern. Multiple nucleation sites resulted in superimposed inhibitive effects from surrounding sites to each bubble, which extensively delayed the departure. This new observation was not discussed in previously published works.

The work presented here provides new insight on the fundamental understanding of boiling phenomena, contributes to the development of a 3D multiphase computational fluid dynamics (M-CFD) model, and provides a more comprehensive database for data-driven pool boiling studies.