Experimental data on SuperCritical-Water (SCW) cooled bundles are very limited. Major problems with performing such experiments are technical difficulties in testing and experimental costs at high pressures, temperatures and heat fluxes. Also, there are only a few SCW experimental setups currently in the world capable of providing data. SuperCritical Water-cooled nuclear Reactors (SCWRs), as one of the six concepts of Generation IV reactors, cannot be designed without such data. Therefore, a preliminary approach uses modeling fluids such as carbon dioxide and refrigerants instead of water are practical. In particularly, experiments in supercritical refrigerant-cooled bundles can be used. One of the SC modeling fluids typically used is Freon-12 (R-12) with the critical pressure of 4.136 MPa and the critical temperature of 111.97°C.
A set of experimental data obtained at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE, Obninsk, Russia) in a vertically-oriented bundle cooled with supercritical R-12 was analyzed. This dataset consisted of 20 runs. The test section was 7-element bundle installed in a hexagonal flow channel with 3 grid spacers. Data was collected at pressures of approximately 4.65 MPa for several different combinations of wall and bulk-fluid temperatures that were below, at, or above the pseudocritical temperature. The values of mass flux were ranged from 400 to 1320 kg/m2s and inlet temperatures ranged from 72 to 120°C. The test section consisted of fuel-element simulators that were 9.5 mm in OD with the total heated length of about 1 m. Bulk-fluid and wall temperature profiles were recorded using a combination of 8 thermocouples.
Analysis of the data has confirmed that there are three distinct heat-transfer regimes for forced convention in supercritical fluids: 1) Normal heat transfer; 2) Deteriorated heat transfer characterized with higher than expected wall temperatures; and 3) Enhanced heat transfer characterized with lower than expected wall temperatures. It was also confirmed that the effects of spacers are evident which was previously observed in sub-critical experimental data. Further analysis needs to be conducted on the deteriorated heat transfer phenomena for low mass flux cases which represent accident scenarios. This can be done by designing a natural circulation experimental test loop.