Fluid-structure interaction of a 7-rods bundle: Benchmarking numerical simulations with experimental data

F. Bertocchi, M. Rohde, D. De Santis, A. Shams, H. Dolfen, J. Degroote, J. Vierendeels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Fluid flows through rod bundles are observed in many nuclear applications, such as in the core of Gen IV liquid metal fast breeder nuclear reactors (LMFBR). One of the main features of this configuration is the appearance of flow fluctuations in the rod gaps due to the velocity difference in the sub-channels between the rods. On one side, these pulsations are beneficial as they enhance the heat exchange between the rods and the fluid. On the other side, the fluid pulsations might induce vibrations of the flexible fuel rods, a mechanism generally referred to as Flow Induced Vibrations (FIV). Over time, this might result in mechanical fatigue of the rods and rod fretting, which eventually can compromise their structural integrity. Within the SESAME framework, a joint work between Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Ghent University (UGent), and NRG has been carried out with the aim of performing experimental measurements of FIV in a 7-rods bundle and validate numerical simulations against the obtained experimental data. The experiments performed by TU Delft consisted of a gravity-driven flow through a 7-rods, hexagonal bundle with a pitch-to-diameter ratio P/D=1.11. A section of 200 mm of the central rod was made out of silicone, of which 100 mm were flexible. Flow measurements have been carried out with Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) whereas a high-speed camera has measured the vibrations induced on the silicone rod. The numerical simulations made use of the Unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (URANS) approach for the turbulence modelling, and of strongly coupled algorithms for the solution of the fluid-structure interaction (FSI) problems. The measured frequency of the flow pulsations, as well as the mean rod displacement and vibration frequency, have been used to carry out the benchmark.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110394
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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