A robust methodology for the optimization of thermal start up and shut down cyclic loading of a Generation IV supercritical-water cooled reactor (SCWR) core is presented in the conceptual development stage. The goal is understand the design space and identify design issues that deserve additional analysis, not to finalize the design. Parameterization of the geometry of different parts of the plenum supported automatic mesh generation of the parts. This enabled the Design of Optimal Experiments to be automated for a prescribed design space to compute the sensitivity of the defined objective functions to each design parameter including mesh parameters. With this software framework, the optimized profile of temperature and pressure for start up and shut down cycles was investigated with respect to an objective function to minimize the effective plastic strain over a number of cycles. In particular, the optimized value of effective plastic strain at saturated pressure and temperature conditions was determined. The intent was to demonstrate a capability to do design by analysis for pressure vessels, i.e., design based on a 3D nonlinear coupled holistic macroscopic thermal/stress analyses.

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