Research Papers

Validated Simulations of Heat Transfer From a Vertical Heated-Rod Array to a Helium-Filled Isothermal Enclosure

[+] Author and Article Information
Dilesh Maharjan

Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Nevada Reno,
1664 North Virginia Street MS 312,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: dileshm@nevada.unr.edu

Mustafa Hadj-Nacer

Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Nevada Reno,
1664 North Virginia Street MS 312,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: mhadjnacer@unr.edu

Narayana Chalasani

Johns Manville,
10100 W Ute Avenue,
Littleton, CO 80127
e-mail: NarayanaRao.Chalasani@jm.com

Miles Greiner

Mechanical Engineering Department,
University of Nevada Reno,
1664 North Virginia Street MS 312,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: greiner@unr.edu

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received November 29, 2016; final manuscript received May 18, 2017; published online September 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Pedro Mago.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 10(2), 021007 (Sep 06, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: TSEA-16-1349; doi: 10.1115/1.4037493 History: Received November 29, 2016; Revised May 18, 2017

Measurements of heat transfer from an array of vertical heater rods to the walls of a square, helium-filled enclosure are performed for a range of enclosure temperatures, helium pressures, and rod heat generation rates. This configuration is relevant to a used nuclear fuel assembly within a dry storage canister. The measurements are used to assess the accuracy of computational fluid dynamics (CFD)/radiation simulations in the same configuration. The simulations employ the measured enclosure temperatures as boundary conditions and predict the temperature difference between the rods and enclosure. These temperature differences are as large as 72 °C for some experiments. The measured temperature of rods near the periphery of the array is sensitive to small, uncontrolled variations in their location. As a result, those temperatures are not as useful for validating the simulations as measurements from rods near the array center. The simulated rod temperatures exhibit random differences from the measurements that are as large as 5.7 °C, but the systematic (average) error is 1 °C or less. The random difference between the simulated and measured maximum array temperature is 2.1 °C, which is less than 3% of the maximum rod-to-wall temperature difference.

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Fig. 1

Dissembled experimental apparatus (a) heater rod array, (b) spacer plates, and (c) enclosure

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Fig. 2

Assembled experimental apparatus: (a) axial cross section showing internal components and (b) photograph showing external insulation, and top extension tubes with wire feedthroughs

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Fig. 3

Experimental apparatus cross section showing heater rods, enclosure walls, coordinate system, and row and column names. Numbers in rods indicate z-location of thermocouples, and Greek letters indicate symmetry group (Table 2)

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Fig. 4

Measured thermocouple (open and filled symbols) and simulated (solid and dotted lines and ×+*  symbols) temperatures within boundaries and rods for experiments III and VII

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Fig. 5

Measured enclosure wall and top and bottom spacer plate temperatures for different insulation thicknesses and helium pressures versus heat generation rate (a) average temperatures (b) 95%-deviation temperatures

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Fig. 6

Deviation temperatures within each symmetry group versus group average temperature minus wall temperature

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Fig. 7

Computational domain (a) Full x, y-plane divided into nine middle, M, side, S, and corner, C, regions (b) enlarged view of section 1 from part (a), showing eccentricity of the heater rods

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Fig. 8

Computational results for experiment VII. (a) Rod surface temperature contours (half of the rods are removed to show highest temperatures) and (b) vertical component of gas velocity in the midplane, z = 0.

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Fig. 9

Simulated versus measured thermocouple-to-wall temperature differences for all 12 experiments



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