Geometric simplification for computational efficiency in CFD based heat transfer analysis

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Faculty Mentor

Robert Spall


General Topic: Computational fluid dynamics modelling of physically large and detailed systems necessitates some degree of simplification to the physical system for the sake of computational efficiency. This study is part of an experimental and computational analysis of dry cask storage of waste nuclear fuel rods. This study will present simplifications and their justification for the electric cartridge heaters being used to simulate the waste nuclear fuel in the dry cask analysis. Specific Objective: The aim of this study is to determine the simplifications that can be made to the CFD simulation to reduce the computational load while maintaining the integrity and relevance of the simulation to the physical experiment. The heating elements of the cartridge heaters in question are comprised of tightly wound helical coils which are computationally expensive to model in CFD simulation. The desired outcome of the study is to determine if the cartridge heaters can be replaced by a specified heat flux boundary condition in the full CFD models of the dry cask storage system. Method: The approach of this study will be to make a series of simplifications to the full model of the cartridge heaters and compare the outer surface temperature and heat flux profiles from each simplification step to determine the validity of the simplifications. Results: Preliminary CFD simulations of both fully detailed and simplified cartridge heater models indicate that the geometric simplifications to the cartridge heater models have a minimal effect on the outer surface temperature and heat flux profiles thereby justifying the elimination of the cartridge heaters from the CFD model of the dry cask storage system. Conclusions: Geometric simplifications to the full cartridge heater model will both reduce the computational load of the CFD simulation and maintain the integrity of the simulation and its approximation of the physical dry cask fuel storage experiment.

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