This study is to investigate an effect of natural convection or natural circulation on a transport process by molecular diffusion in a stratified fluid layer consisting of two component gases. There are many experiment and analysis regarding natural convection or natural circulation in the vertical slot. However, there are few studies on natural convection or circulation and molecular diffusion in the stratified fluid layer consisting of two component gases. It was confirmed that these phenomena appear when the depressurization accident occurs in the very high temperature reactor (VHTR). Therefore it is important to evaluate the transport and mixing processes during the depressurization accident of the VHTR.
The experiment has been performed regarding the combined phenomena of molecular diffusion and natural convection or circulation in a two parallel vertical slots filled with two component gases. The vertical slot consists of the one side heated wall and the other side cooled wall. The other slot consists of the two cooled walls. The dimension of heated wall is 500mm×200mm and thickness is 3mm. The width of the slot is 20mm and the aspect ratio is 25. Combination of nitrogen (N2)/argon(Ar), neon(Ne)/Ar, helium(He)/N2 and He/Ar was used as the first step of the experiment of the two component gases. The density change of the gas mixture and the gas temperature distribution in the slots were obtained. The mixing process of the heavier gas from the bottom side of the slot filled with the lighter gas was discussed in this paper.
The experimental results showed that the transport phenomena by the molecular diffusion were influenced by the localized natural convection or circulation of the gas mixture in the stratified fluid layer. From the experimental results, it was found that the mixing process by molecular diffusion was affected significantly by the natural convection or circulation induced by the slight temperature difference between both vertical walls.