Abstract

Quenching is an important phenomenon in the evaluation of an emergency core cooling system following a hypothetical loss of coolant accident (LOCA) in a nuclear reactor. In the present study, an experimental apparatus is designed and constructed with the purpose of conducting high-temperature transient pool boiling quenching experiments for zirconium (Zr-4) cylindrical test samples. Three thermocouples are inserted in the test sample to investigate the effect of axial distance on the minimum film boiling temperature. The Zr-4 rodlet is heated up to a temperature well above the minimum film boiling temperature (up to 600°C), and then plunged vertically in a quiescent pool of subcooled water. A data acquisition system is used to record the temperature of the embedded thermocouples with time. Data reduction is performed by an inverse heat conduction code to calculate the surface temperature and corresponding surface heat flux. A visualization study with a high-speed camera is conducted to record the quenching behavior on the test sample. It is found that the minimum film boiling temperature decreases with the axial distance, while the CHF temperature is relatively insensitive to the axial distance. The film boiling heat transfer coefficient decreases with surface temperature, and seems to be independent of axial distance. The quench front is observed to originate from the bottom and move upwards. It is found that the quench front velocity remains nearly constant in the lower region of the test sample, and significantly increases in the upper region.

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