Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Barton L. Smith


Natural convection is a phenomenon in which a flow of the fluid surrounding a body is induced by a change in density due to the temperature difference between the body and the fluid. This flow can be highly non-linear and turbulent, generating eddies. The complex interaction between the convective, viscous and buoyant forces requires the use of modern turbulent simulation tools for simulation. The accuracy of these tools, due to non-linearity, is difficult to assess. The present study investigates natural convection in nuclear fuel rod bundles using heated rods to simulate the storage of spent fuel in dry casks as a benchmark for simulation validation. Four heated, aluminum cylinders are instrumented and suspended in a rotatable, open-circuit wind tunnel. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is used to non-obtrusively measure the velocity fields for various heating and flow conditions. The system response quantities (SRQs) and inflow conditions are acquired using PIV for use in validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models. All measurements are reported with uncertainties and are repeated for multiple flow conditions and heating scenarios. The boundary conditions, initial conditions and SRQs are compiled and made available for public use in validating CFD models.



Award Number

Department of Energy, Nuclear Energy University Program 128493