The present study demonstrates a process used to develop confidence in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a tool to investigate flow and temperature distributions in a PWR fuel bundle. The velocity and temperature fields produced by a mixing spacer grid of a PWR fuel assembly are quite complex. Before using CFD to evaluate these flow fields, a rigorous benchmarking effort should be performed to ensure that reasonable results are obtained. Westinghouse has developed a method to quantitatively benchmark CFD tools against data at conditions representative of the PWR. Several measurements in a 5×5 rod bundle were performed. Lateral flowfield testing employed visualization techniques and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Heat transfer testing involved measurements of the single-phase heat transfer coefficient downstream of the spacer grid. These test results were used to compare with CFD predictions. Among the parameters optimized in the CFD models based on this comparison with data include computational mesh, turbulence model, and boundary conditions. As an outcome of this effort, a methodology was developed for CFD modeling that provides confidence in the numerical results.

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