An assessment of describing function methods applied to reactor fuel performance analysis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ng451n22v

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  • Large digital computer reactor fuel performance codes perform repeated calculations of temperature profiles during transients. The thermal response is required to calculate the mechanical behavior. This mechanical response in turn feeds back to the thermal calculations through mechanisms such as fuel swelling or shrinking, causing changes in the fuel-clad gap conductance. This calculation process can become very costly in terms of computer time. Describing functions or input-dependent transfer functions have been shown to exhibit substantial savings in computing time when compared to traditional finite difference or finite element methods in solving the non-linear partial differential equations for heat transfer in a fuel rod. This thesis is a study of the feasibility of using a describing function technique to replace the finite element based heat transfer section of a fuel performance code. The hybrid program gave results which compared favorably with the original code but showed longer running times because of the interaction with the deformation solution at each transient time step. The steady state solution steps, however, gave comparable results in one-tenth of the computing time. Also developed were new polynomial expressions to replace the original expressions for uranium dioxide conductivity and integral conductivity. These new functions gave more accurate results and were computationally faster.
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