Towards validated prediction with RANS CFD of flow and heat transport in a wire-wrap fuel assembly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Ferry Roelofs
  • Heleen Uitslag-Doolaard
  • D. Dovizio
  • Mikuz Blaz
  • Afaque Shams
  • Fulvio Bertocchi
  • Martin Rohde
  • Julio Pacio
  • Ivan Di Piazza
  • Graham Kennedy
  • Katrien Van Tichelen
  • Alex Obabko
  • Elia Merzari

Institutes & Expert groups

  • NRG - Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group
  • TUD - Delft University of Technology
  • IKET KIT INE - Karlsruhe Institute of : Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • ENEA - Italian National Agency for New Technologies

Documents & links


Liquid metal fast reactors (LMFRs) are foreseen to play an important role in the future of nuclear energy, thanks to their increased fuel utilization and safety features profiting from the optimal heat transfer performance of the metallic coolants. Accurate thermal-hydraulic analysis of their fuel assemblies, typically employed with wire-wraps as spacers, is recognized as a crucial scientific and engineering contribution to support the deployment of such technology. This challenges the modeling and simulation community. To this aspect, various reference databases (both experimental and numerical) for different wire-wrapped fuel assembly configurations have been created recently and are being used for validation of engineering simulation approaches based on Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) modelling. These databases include: 7-pin rod bundle: A detailed experiment with Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is performed. In order to allow accurate measurements of the flow topology, a matched-index-of-refraction technique was used employing water as working fluid. 19-pin bundle: A series of experiments is performed covering a wide range of Reynolds and Peclet numbers as well as thermal powers. The experiments use liquid lead-bismuth eutectic as working fluid. The measurements include pressure drop and local temperatures. 61-pin rod bundle: This large eddy simulation including conjugate heat transfer from the pin cladding to the coolant allows to bridge the gap from small bundles (less than 37 pins) to large bundles (more than 37 pins). In literature, a fundamental different behavior has been observed for small bundles compared to large bundles. 127-pin bundle: Isothermal experiments using lead-bismuth eutectic characterizing pressure drop are performed on a full scale fuel assembly representative for the MYRRHA reactor. Infinite pin bundle: This reference quasi-direct numerical simulation profits from periodicity in all directions. It provides a detailed view into the flow field and in addition reveals details of the heat transfer from the rod bundle into the flow. Reference databases aim to serve the nuclear scientific community to validate engineering simulation approaches. The paper will introduce these reference databases, and how they have been used to validate RANS based turbulence modelling approaches within a mainly European context.


Original languageEnglish
Article number110273
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2019


  • fuel assembly, cfd, rans, myrrha, Wire wrapped fuel assembly

ID: 5973969