In some engineered systems, the interface thermal conductance is a key parameter that governs the heat transfer behaviour of components in solid-solid contact. For example, in certain postulated accident scenarios for CANDU reactors, the pressure tube (PT) may deform into contact with the calandria tube (CT) to form a more direct path for heat transfer from the fuel to the moderator. There have been no direct measurements of interface thermal conductance in integrated “Contact boiling” experiments designed to mimic this Loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) scenario due to the geometrical limits of the test components and the cumbersome nature of the instrumentation required to extract contact conductance data. It has been noted that the modelling of the contact conductance is one of the main sources of uncertainty in predicting the outcome of the contact boiling experiments that mimic LOCA scenarios. The present study demonstrated an analogy between the electrical and thermal contact conductance for PT/CT interfaces. The range of interface pressure and interface temperatures studies are selected to match the expected range of conditions during a CANDU LOCA scenario. The experiment setup consists of two sets of specimen representing PT and CT material. The specimen are instrumented with four K-type thermocouples in sequence to capture the temperature gradient imposed via a three-chamber oven. Within a range of interface pressures from 2 to 7 MPa and a temperature range from 510 to 720°C, the analogy is independent of the interface pressure or the load applied. This demonstrates the measurement of the electrical conductance between the PT and CT in contact boiling as a promising technique for obtaining in-situ information on the thermal contact conductance during integrated experiments.

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