Efficient modelling and accurate knowledge of the mechanical behaviour of the reactor core are needed to estimate the effects of seismic excitation on a nuclear power plant. The fuel assemblies (in the reactor core) are subjected to an axial water flow which modifies their dynamical behaviour. Several fluid-structure models simulating the response of the core to a seismic load has been developed in recent years; most of them require high computational costs. The work which is presented here is a first step in order to simplify the fluid forces modelling, and thus to be able to catch the main features of the mechanical behaviour of reactor core with low computational costs. The main assumption made in this work is to consider the fluid flow as an inviscid potential flow. Thus, the flow can be described only using one scalar function (velocity potential) instead of a vector field and strongly simplifies the fluid mechanics equations, avoiding the necessity to solve Navier-Stokes equations. The pressure distribution around a cylinder is first solved in Fourier space for different values of the parameters (wavenumber, confinement size).

The method is applied to a simple geometry (cylinder in an axial flow with a variable confinement) in order to test its effectiveness. The empirical model is then compared to simulations and reference works in literature. The configuration with large confinement has been solved, and results were in agreement with Slender Body Theory. The dependency on the confinement size strongly depends on the wavenumber, but in any case added mass increases as the confinement size decreases. Finally, future perspectives to extend the model to a group of cylinders and to improve the model are discussed (i.e. add viscosity to the model).

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