It has been established by other authors [1] that the accelerations of the water confined by the reactor core baffle plates has a significant effect on the responses of all the fuel assemblies during LOCA or seismic transients. This particular effect is a consequence of the water being essentially incompressible, and thus experiencing the same horizontal accelerations as the imposed baffle plate motions. These horizontal accelerations of the fluid induce lateral pressure gradients that cause horizontal buoyancy forces on any submerged structures. These forces are in the same direction as the baffle accelerations and, for certain frequencies at least, tend to reduce the relative displacements between the fuel and baffle plates. But there is another confinement effect — the imposed baffle plate velocities must also be transmitted to the water. If the fuel assembly grid strips are treated as simple hydro-foils, these horizontal velocity components change the fluid angle of attack on each strip, and thus may induce large horizontal lift forces on each grid in the same direction as the baffle plate velocity. There is a similar horizontal lift due to inclined flow over the rods when axial flow is present. These combined forces appear to always reduce the relative displacements between the fuel and baffle plates for any significant axial flow velocity. Modeling this effect is very simple. It was shown in previous papers [2,3] that the mechanism for the large fuel assembly damping due to axial flow may be the hydrodynamic forces on the grid strips, and that this is very well represented by discrete viscous dampers at each grid elevation. To include the imposed horizontal water velocity effects, on both the grids and rods, these dampers are simply attached to the baffle plate rather than “ground”. The large flow-induced damping really acts in a relative reference frame rather than an absolute or inertial reference frame, and thus it becomes a flow-induced coupling between the fuel and baffles. This has a significant effect on the fuel assembly motions and tends to reduce the relative displacements and impact forces between fuel assemblies and baffle walls.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.