Steam injector (SI) are attracting attention as countermeasures against severe-accident in nuclear reactors. It is a static jet pump which operates using driving force to draw steam and water by internal pressure being reduced by direct contact condensation of these two fluids. In addition, capability of SI as a heat exchanger with high heat-transfer is expected. The absence of a drive unit such as an external power supply and rotating machine is significant characteristic of SI, and it can be expected to suppress the cost of installation and maintenance. It is also possible to produce a discharge pressure higher than the inlet pressure. From these facts, SI is expected to be applied as a static safety system that can cool the reactor core even if power lose at the nuclear power plant.
Although SI has been used for steam engines since long ago, the mechanism of its operation has not yet been clarified. Thus, elucidation of the mechanism of operation of SI is indispensable for introduction to a nuclear power plant. A one-dimensional analytical model which predicts the operating characteristics assuming full condensation and evaluated discharge pressure is constructed (Narabayashi et al., 1996). In addition, from detailed observation, it was confirmed by that there is a boundary of luminance in the diffuser section (Abe et al., 2012). This is considered as the boundary where the two-phase flow condenses. However, this phenomenon is not considered in the current analysis model.
The aim of this research is to clarify the flow structure in the diffuser section of SI. For that purpose, the state of the diffuser section of the transparent SI test part was observed with a highspeed camera, and the pressure at each point in it was measured simultaneously. The boundary of the luminance is confirmed to approach the throat as closing the back-pressure valve. In addition to this boundary, it was confirmed that the bright region intermittently propagated downstream. This phenomenon is supposed to be caused by pressure increasing, and the propagations assumed as a pressure wave moving at the sound speed. Thus, void fraction is estimated by calculating this propagation speed with image processing. Furthermore, experiments were carried out using three types of large, medium and small test parts, respectively. From the above results, the internal flow structure in the SI diffuser section was discussed.