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Study on thermal fragmentation characteristics of a superheated alumina droplet
KTH.
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2018 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 119, p. 352-361Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the frame of the European Commission FP7 SAFEST project, IRSN proposed to experimentally investigate the steam explosion triggering mechanisms of a superheated alumina droplet falling into water, through a set of experiments in the Micro Interactions in Steam Explosion Energetics facility (MISTEE) at KTH. Since thermal fragmentation is considered to be a likely process for the triggering of Steam Explosions in the KROTOS tests (performed at CEA) with alumina, the ability of a single droplet of such material to undergo thermally induced fine fragmentation is studied on the MISTEE facility with a close-up visualization. A series of experiments were conducted, where droplets of molten alumina were discharged into a water pool and potentially exposed to a small pressure wave. The intense interactions were recorded with a high-speed camera along with the pressure in the droplet vicinity. The ability of alumina to undergo thermal fragmentation is expected to be firstly contingent on the stability of the vapour film enshrouding the melt droplet. The water and melt temperatures may then play a crucial role on the vapour film stability, and therefore on the observation of a steam explosion. Indeed, under high to moderate water sub-cooling conditions, experimental observations indicate that fine fragmentation of the melt can occur when the droplet is exposed to even a weak pressure wave, in the range of 0.15 MPa. In contrast, melt fine fragmentation is suppressed at low water sub-cooling conditions (less than 30 °C), where the formation of a thick vapour film (and large wake) is observed, and which is probably too stable to be destabilized by the weak pressure wave. The effect of the melt temperature on thermal fragmentation is also assessed. This parameter influences the solidification of the droplet and the strength of the explosion as it determines the available heat energy. In the present conditions, fine fragmentation of melt occurred even at quite low melt superheat (≈60 °C). For a high melt superheat (above 200 °C) a very energetic spontaneous steam explosion was observed. A physical analysis on the debris particles acquired indicates a mass median diameter of ≈100 µm, comparable to the one observed in the KROTOS alumina experiments. The MISTEE experimental results are finally used to assess the heat and mass transfer modelling of the coolant during the fragmentation process in the FCI code MC3D.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 119, p. 352-361
Keyword [en]
Alumina, MC3D, Steam explosion, Thermal fragmentation
National Category
Energy Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-228702DOI: 10.1016/j.anucene.2018.05.029Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047160015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-228702DiVA, id: diva2:1211050
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Note

QC 20180530

Available from: 2018-05-30 Created: 2018-05-30 Last updated: 2018-05-30Bibliographically approved

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Manickam, LouisBechta, Sevostian

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