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Experimental and numerical study of flow distribution in compact plate heat exchangers

Galati, Chiara. Experimental and numerical study of flow distribution in compact plate heat exchangers. PhD, Energétique et Transferts, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2017

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This PhD work was motivated by the CEA R&D program to provide solid technological basis for the use of Brayton power conversion system in Sodium-cooled Fast nuclear Reactors (SFRs). Multi-channel compact heat exchangers are necessary for the present application because of the low heat transfer capacity of the gas foreseen. In ASTRID project, a minimum size of Na channels section is required to avoid the plugging risk. However, this induces very low pressure losses in the bundle. Considering an additional inlet flow condition, a real risk of bad flow distribution remains. As a result, the thermal performance and thermal loading of the heat exchanger degrades due to it. The main goal of this work was to overcome the flow maldistribution problem by means of an innovative design of sodium distribution system (PATENT FR1657543), the development of a numerical strategy and the construction of an experimental database to validate all theoretical studies. The innovative sodium distribution system consists on an inlet header which tries to guide the evolution of the impinging jet flow while a system of bifurcating pre-distribution channels increases pressure drops in the bundle. Lateral communications between pre-distribution channels are introduced to further homogenize the flow. Two experimental facilities have been conceived to study the flow behavior in bifurcating channels and in the inlet header, respectively. At the same time, their effect on the flow distribution between channels is evaluated. The acquired PIV aerodynamic database allows to validate the numerical models and to prove the design basis for the proposed distribution system. Once having validated the CFD turbulence models and the strategy to study the flow maldistribution in the SGHE module, a decisive and trustworthy optimization of each component of the sodium distribution system has been performed. Finally, an optimal configuration has been proposed for the actual phase of ASTRID project.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Prat, Laurent E. and Gourdon, Christophe
Deposited On:09 May 2018 13:44

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