In the nuclear power plants, there are many branch pipes with closed-end which are attached vertically to the main pipe. We consider a situation in which the high temperature water is transported in the main pipe, the branch pipe is filled with stagnant water which has lower temperature than the main flow, and the end of the branch pipe is closed. At the branch connection part, it is known that a cavity flow is induced by the shear force of the boundary layer which separates from the leading edge of the branch pipe along the main pipe wall. In cases where the high temperature water penetrates into the branch pipe, there is a possibility that a steep and large temperature gradient field, called “thermal stratification layer” is formed at the boundary between high and low temperature water in the branch pipe. If the thermal stratification layer is formed in a bend pipe, which is used for connecting the vertical branch pipe and to a horizontal pipe, at the same time, the temperature fluctuation by the thermal stratification layer motion occurs, there may cause the thermal stress in the piping material. Furthermore, keeping the piping material under the thermal stress, there might be a possibility of a crack on the surface of the bend pipe. For this reason, the evaluation of the position where the thermal stratification layer reaches is very important during early piping design process. And, deeply understanding regarding the phenomena, is also important. However, because of the complexities of the phenomena, it is difficult to immediately clarify the whole mechanisms of the thermal stress arising due to the temperature fluctuation by the thermal stratification layer change. The complete prediction method for the position of the thermal stratification layer based on the mechanisms that is able to be applied to any piping system, any temperature and any velocity conditions, is also difficult. Therefore, a practical approach is required.
The authors attempt to develop the practical estimation method for the thermal stratification layer position using the three-dimensional Navier-Stokes simulation which was based on the Reynolds-average in order to reduce the computational costs. In this paper, three different configurations of the piping were simulated and the simulation results were compared with the experimental results obtained by the other research group.