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[en] A new experimental facility is being developed for materials irradiation and testing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Details of this facility have been presented before. A prototype of this facility, the Thermosyphon Test Loop (TSTL) has been built, and experimental data have been obtained and analyzed. Pretest calculations for this facility with the RELAP5-3D code have been presented previously as well as other calculations with the TRACE code. The results of both codes were very different. RELAP5-3D predicted much higher pressures and temperatures than TRACE. This paper compares calculated results with the TSTL experimental data. Comparison of calculations with the codes RELAP5-3D and TRACE with experimental data of the new TSTL facility has shown that TRACE results agree well with the data and that RELAP5-3D calculates very high pressures and temperatures. The TRACE code is well suited to model this facility and is being used for future calculations. (authors)
[en] A new experimental facility is being developed for materials irradiation and testing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Details of this facility have been presented before. A prototype of this facility, the Thermosyphon Test Loop (TSTL), has been built, and experimental data have been obtained and analyzed. The purpose of the tests was to establish a safe operating envelope for actual fueled experiments in a HFIR experimental facility. Both steady-state and transient experiments were conducted. The data will also be used to validate computer simulations of the thermosyphon so that those codes can be used for future safety-basis calculations. This paper presents a summary of the TSTL experimental data and analysis. A report with all the data and analyses will be published in the near future. Experimental data from 51 tests in the TSTL have been obtained. This extensive set of high quality data can be used to benchmark codes with boiling and condensing phenomena. This new proposed irradiation facility allows materials to be irradiated without concern for HFIR coolant contamination (from specimen failures) as it uses a separate coolant, that is isolated (except thermally) from the HFIR primary coolant. (authors)
[en] Establishment of a gas layer between the flowing liquid and container wall is proposed for mitigating the effects of cavitation in mercury spallation targets. Previous work has shown an order of magnitude decrease in damage for a gas layer developed in a stagnant mercury target for an in-beam experiment. This work is aimed at extending these results to the more complex conditions introduced by a flowing mercury target system. A water-loop has been fabricated to provide initial insights on potential gas injection methods into a flowing liquid. An existing full-scale flow loop designed to simulate the Spallation Neutron Source target system will be used to extend these studies to mercury. A parallel analytical effort is being conducted using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to provide direction to the experimental effort. Some preliminary simulations of gas injection through a single hole have been completed and show behavior of the models that is qualitatively meaningful.
[en] Microbubble injection into mercury is one of the prospective technologies to mitigate the pressure wave which causes the cavitation damage on the mercury target vessel wall of J-PARC. As one of the studies for the mercury target design with bubbling system, we carried out the mercury loop tests using a mockup model of the target vessel. Injected microbubbles in contact with the transparent top wall were observed to know the bubble size and distribution. As a result, bubbles in the range of radius from 10 to 150 microns, which are the ideal size for our purpose to suppress the pressure wave were transported to the beam window, where the bubbles should be distributed. It was found that the bubbles larger than 150 micron in radius were removed from the distribution by bubble buoyancy, and only the smaller bubbles could be transported downstream. The attention to the effect of bubbles on the cooling performance of the target vessel was raised by the experiment. (author)
[en] In this work, we present computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of helium bubble formation and detachment at a submerged needle in stagnant and co-flowing mercury. Since mercury is opaque, visualization of internal gas bubbles was done with proton radiography (pRad) at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE2). The acoustic waves emitted at the time of detachment and during subsequent oscillations of the bubble were recorded with a microphone. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) model was used to simulate the unsteady two-phase flow of gas injection in mercury. The VOF model is validated by comparing detailed bubble sizes and shapes at various stages of the bubble growth and detachment, with the experimental measurements at different gas flow rates and mercury velocities. The experimental and computational results show a two-stage bubble formation. The first stage involves growing bubble around the needle, and the second follows as the buoyancy overcomes wall adhesion. The comparison of predicted and measured bubble sizes and shapes at various stages of the bubble growth and detachment is in good agreement.
[en] At the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), an accelerator-based neutron source located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee, USA), the production of neutrons is obtained by accelerating protons against a mercury target. This self-cooling target, however, suffers rapid heat deposition by the beam pulse leading to large pressure changes and thus to cavitations that may be damaging to the container. In order to locally compensate for pressure increases, a small-bubble population is added to the mercury flow using gas bubblers. The geometry of the bubblers being unknown, we are testing several bubblers configurations and are using machine vision techniques to characterize their efficiency by quantitative measurement of the created bubble population. In this paper we thoroughly detail the experimental setup and the image processing techniques used to quantitatively assess the bubble population. To support this approach we are comparing our preliminary results for different bubblers and operating modes, and discuss potential improvements.
[en] The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) is an accelerator-based neutron source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The nuclear spallation reaction occurs when a proton beam hits liquid mercury. This interaction causes thermal expansion of the liquid mercury which produces high pressure waves. When these pressure waves hit the target vessel wall, cavitation can occur and erode the wall. Research and development efforts at SNS include creation of a vertical protective gas layer between the flowing liquid mercury and target vessel wall to mitigate the cavitation damage erosion and extend the life time of the target. Since mercury is opaque, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be used as a diagnostic tool to see inside the liquid mercury and guide the experimental efforts. In this study, CFD simulations of three dimensional, unsteady, turbulent, two-phase flow of helium gas injection in flowing liquid mercury over smooth, vertically grooved and horizontally grooved walls are carried out with the commercially available CFD code Fluent-12 from ANSYS. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) model is used to track the helium-mercury interface. V-shaped vertical and horizontal grooves with 0.5 mm pitch and about 0.7 mm depth were machined in the transparent wall of acrylic test sections. Flow visualization data of helium gas coverage through transparent test sections is obtained with a high-speed camera at the ORNL target test facility (TTF). The helium gas mass flow rate is 8 mg/min and introduced through a 0.5 mm diameter port. The local mercury velocity is 0.9 m/s. In this paper, the helium gas flow rate and the local mercury velocity are kept constant for the three cases. Time integration of predicted helium gas volume fraction over time is done to evaluate the gas coverage and calculate the average thickness of the helium gas layer. The predicted time-integrated gas coverage over vertically grooved and horizontally grooved test sections is better than over a smooth wall. The simulations show that the helium gas is trapped inside the grooves. The predicted time-averaged gas coverage is in good qualitative agreement with the measured gas coverage.
[en] One of several options that shows promise for protecting solid surfaces from cavitation damage in liquid metal spallation targets, involves introducing an interstitial gas layer between the liquid metal and the containment vessel wall. Several approaches toward establishing such a protective gas layer are being investigated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory including large bubble injection, and methods that involve stabilization of the layer by surface modifications to enhance gas hold-up on the wall or by inserting a porous media. It has previously been reported that using a gas layer configuration in a test target showed an order-of-magnitude decrease in damage for an in-beam experiment. Video images that were taken of the successful gas/mercury flow configuration have been analyzed and correlated. The results show that the success was obtained under conditions where only 60% of the solid wall was covered with gas. Such a result implies that this mitigation scheme may have much more potential. Additional experiments with gas injection into water are underway. Multi-component flow simulations are also being used to provide direction for these new experiments. These simulations have been used to size the gas layer and position multiple inlet nozzles.
[en] Investigations in the area of two-phase flow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) facility are progressing. It is expected that the target vessel lifetime could be extended by introducing gas into the liquid mercury target. As part of an effort to validate the two-phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model, simulations and experiments of gas injection in stagnant and flowing mercury have been completed. The volume of fluid (VOF) method as implemented in ANSYS-CFX, was used to simulate the unsteady two-phase flow of gas injection into stagnant mercury. Bubbles produced at the upwards-oriented vertical gas injector were measured with proton radiography at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. The comparison of the CFD results to the radiographic images shows good agreement for bubble sizes and shapes at various stages of the bubble growth, detachment, and gravitational rise. Although several gas flows were measured, this paper focuses on the case with a gas flow rate of 8 cc/min through the 100-micron-diameter injector needle. The acoustic waves emitted due to the detachment of the bubble and during subsequent bubble oscillations were recorded with a microphone, providing a precise measurement of the bubble sizes. As the mercury flow rate increases, the drag force causes earlier bubble detachment and therefore smaller bubbles.
[en] Pressure waves created in liquid mercury pulsed spallation targets have been shown to create cavitation damage to the target container. One way to mitigate such damage would be to absorb the pressure pulse energy into a dispersed population of small bubbles, however, creating such a population in mercury is difficult due to the high surface tension and particularly the non-wetting behavior of mercury on gas-injection hardware. If the larger injected gas bubbles can be broken down into small bubbles after they are introduced to the flow, then the material interface problem is avoided. Research at the Oak Ridge National Labarotory is underway to develop a technique that has shown potential to provide an adequate population of small-enough bubbles to a flowing spallation target. This technique involves gas injection at an orifice of a geometry that is optimized to the turbulence intensity and pressure distribution of the flow, while avoiding coalescence of gas at injection sites. The most successful geometry thus far can be described as a square-toothed orifice having a 2.5 bar pressure drop in the nominal flow of 12 L/s for one of the target inlet legs. High-speed video and high-resolution photography have been used to quantify the bubble population on the surface of the mercury downstream of the gas injection sight. Also, computational fluid dynamics has been used to optimize the dimensions of the toothed orifice based on a RANS computed mean flow including turbulent energies such that the turbulent dissipation and pressure field are best suited for turbulent break-up of the gas bubbles.