In typical pressurized water reactors, zirconium alloys are used as cladding material for the fuel. However, zircalloy is known to face problems with the high temperature steam, due to the chemical process of oxidation, the oxygen molecules will be separated from the water molecules of the coolant leading to hydrogen gas releases. Recently, a research team at KAIST, South Korea suggested a methodology to fabricate nanoporous oxide layer with the aim of preventing the zircalloy outer surface from reacting with the coolant. Although, this new proposal offers a better solution to prevent the potential hydrogen gas generation, it is still not well understood how the nanoporous-layer is going to affect the convective heat transfer rates between the coolant and the fuel. In fact, on one hand the low conductivity of the oxide layer is expected to reduce the conduction heat transfer within the cladding material; but on the other hand, the nanopores on the oxide layer might act as an effective surface roughness, hence affecting both the hydrodynamic and thermal fields within the coolant channels. In this study, a CFD analysis is carried out to investigate the influence of this nanoporous layer on the convective heat transfer rate and pressure drop coefficient. A detailed 2-D steady-state numerical analysis on single-phase model is performed using Star-CCM+ code. The study is conducted using pores with a diameter of 30 to 100 nm. The results obtained from these predictions are then compared with the ones obtained in the case of the smooth surface. Therefore, the main objectives of the present study are to examine the effect of this nanopourous layer on the thermal hydraulic parameters and to produce the corresponding correlations to be used in the system scale thermal-hydraulic codes.

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