Air ingress into a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor (VHTR) is an important phenomenon to consider because the air oxidizes the reactor core and lower plenum where the graphite structure supports the core region in the gas turbine modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) design, thus jeopardizing the reactor’s safety. Validating the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code used to analyze the air ingress phenomena is therefore an essential part of the safety analysis and the ultimate computation required for licensing. An experimental data set collected by ETH Zurich on a lock exchange experiment (Grobelbauser et al., Lowe et al. 2002; Lowe et al. 2005; and Shin et al. 2004) was selected for the validation. The experiment was based on a series of lock exchange flows with gases of different density ratios varying from 0.046 to 0.9 in a closed channel of a square cross-section. The focus was on the quantitative measurement of front velocities of the gravity current flows. The experiment results cover the full range of gas intrusions—heavy as well as light—for the gravity current flows in the lock exchange situations. FLUENT CFD code (ANSYS Fluent 2008) was used. The calculated results showed very good agreement with the experimental data. A number of tables and comparison plots are included to summarize the estimated current speeds. The current speed obtained by experimental data was 1.25 m/s and that of the simulation was 1.19 m/s. This result indicates that the deviation of the simulation is only 4.8% that of the experimental data.

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