A Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is one of the next generation nuclear reactor systems. From a view point of safety characteristics, a passive cooling system should be designed as the best way of a reactor vessel cooling system (VCS) in the VHTR. Therefore, the gas cooling system with natural circulation is considered as a candidate for the VCS of the VHTR. Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is advancing the technology development of the VHTR and is now pursuing design and development of commercial systems such as the 300MWe gas turbine high temperature reactor GTHTR300C (Gas Turbine High Temperature Reactor 300 for Cogeneration). In the VCS of the GTHTR300C, many rectangular flow channels are formed around the reactor pressure vessel (RPV), and a cooling panel utilizing natural convection of air has been proposed. In order to apply the proposed panel to the VCS of the GTHTR300C, it is necessary to clarify the heat transfer and flow characteristics of the proposed channel in the cooling panel. Thus, we carried out an experiment to investigate heat transfer and fluid flow characteristics by natural convection in a vertical rectangular channel heated on one side. Experiments were also carried out to investigate the heat transfer and fluid flow characteristics by natural convection when a porous material with high porosity is inserted into the channel. An experimental apparatus is a vertical rectangular flow channel with a square cross section in which one surface is heated by a rubber heater. Dimensions of the experimental apparatus is 600 mm in height and 50 mm on one side of the square cross section. Air was used as a working fluid and fine copper wire (diameter: 0.5 mm) was used as a porous material. The temperature of the wall surface and gas in the channel were measured by K type thermocouples. The flow velocity distribution was obtained by a PIV method. In this paper, we discuss the heat transfer and fluid flow characteristics of the proposed channel. From the results obtained in the experiment, it was found that the amount of removed heat decreased with increasing of temperature of gas when a copper wire was inserted into the channel with high porosity. This is because the mass flow rate decreased with increasing of viscosity of gas. Since it is expected that the porosity of a porous material will have an optimum value, further studies will be needed.

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