Stochastic simulation of sphere beds and the effect of packing density on the thermal conductivity of sphere pac nuclear fuels Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r494vp20f

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  • The establishment of any thermal model of reactor fuel requires a thorough understanding of the behavior of the thermal conductivity. This is especially true in the case of sphere pac fuels where the conductivity is a function of many variables beyond those normally affecting conventional fuels. One of these variables, packing density, is not fully accounted for in present unit cell models of thermal conductivity. In this thesis, a method has been developed whereby the effect of packing density and its importance can be evaluated for any type of unit cell. The effect of packing density is due to the random orientation of the unit cells in the bed with respect to heat flow. The calculation of the "cell orientation effect" must therefore account for each cell in the packing. This requirement resulted in the development of the RANDPAC code - a Monte Carlo program for simulating the packing of spheres in a cylinder. RANDPAC generates and provides detailed information concerning the location and coordination of every sphere in a random cylindrical bed. By coupling this information with data pertinent to the characterization of the unit cells in the bed, the effective conductivity of the bed relative to the unit cell conductivity (the cell orientation factor) can be evaluated. This procedure is carried out by the ORIENT code. Evaluation of the orientation factor for a unit cell currently in use has shown that packing density has a significant effect which cannot be ignored in modeling sphere pac fuels. Additionally, the variation of the orientation factor is seen to be strongly dependent on both cell geometry and the variation of cell geometry with changes in packing factor. Further improvements need to be made to the RANDPAC code to allow these dependencies to be better quantified.
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