Gravity driven pipe flows contain no risk of pump failure and are considered to be reliable even under accident conditions. However, accurate prediction methods are only available for single phase flow. In case of the occurrence of two-phase flow (caused e.g. by boiling or cavitation), a considerable reduction in mass flux can be observed. In this study, an experimental and numerical investigation of gravity driven two-phase pipe flow was performed in order to understand and model such flows. An experiment was conducted to analyse gravity driven flow of water near saturation temperature in a complex pipe consisting of several vertical and horizontal sections. The diameter was 100 mm with a driving height of 13 m between an elevated tank and the pipe outlet. The experiment shows that cavitation leads to formation of steam. The two-phase character of the flow causes a significant reduction of mass flux in comparison to a single phase flow case. The experimental flow rate was reproduced by one dimensional single and two phase flow analysis based on standard one dimensional methods including models for steam formation. The main part of this study consists of a three dimensional CFD analysis of the two phase flow. A three dimensional model for cavitation and recondensation phenomena based on thermal transport processes was developed, implemented and validated against our experimental data. Due to the fact that beside bubbly flow, also the stratified and droplet flow regimes occur, a new approach to model phase interaction terms of the Two-Fluid Model for mass, momentum and energy is presented. Thereby, the transition from one flow regime to another is taken into account. The experimental mass flow rate can be predicted with an accuracy of 10%. The three dimensional analysis of the flow situation demonstrates the influence of pipe elements such as horizontal and vertical sections, bends and valves of the pipe on the mass flux and the steam distribution. The analysis of secondary flows in bends emphases their importance for the steam distribution within the pipe, for the pressure loss and the average mass flux.

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