Sie sind auf Seite 1von 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

Heat Removal from Reactor Systems


K.S. Rajan
Professor, School of Chemical & Biotechnology
SASTRA University

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 1 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

Table of Contents
1 MODES OF HEAT TRANSFER ..................................................................................................... 3
1.1 CONDUCTION ............................................................................................................................................... 3
1.2 CONVECTION ............................................................................................................................................... 4
1.3 RADIATION ................................................................................................................................................... 5
2 BOILING ........................................................................................................................................... 5
3 REFERENCES/ADDITIONAL READING ................................................................................... 7

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 2 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

This lecture will focus on the modes of heat removal from core of a nuclear reactor.
This will be followed by discussion on fluid flow behavior in the core of PWR and
BWR.
At the end of this lecture, the learners will be able to
(i)
(ii)
(iii)

Identify the modes of heat transfer


Identify the factors influencing the various modes of heat transfer
Understand the meaning of DNB and DRYOUT

1 Modes of heat transfer


There are three modes by which heat may be transferred from one object to the other:
(i) conduction (ii) convection and (iii) radiation

1.1 Conduction
Conduction is a mode of heat transfer that occurs in solids and in stationary fluid.
Conduction occurs due to molecular motion in a substance. Molecules in high
temperature region possess high thermal energy by virtue of which they move faster.
These molecules collide with adjacent molecules causing them to move as well. This
causes energy flow towards the region of lower temperature.
Fouriers law of heat conduction can be used to understand the variables influencing
heat transfer by conduction. By Fouriers law, rate of heat transfer (Q) per unit area
(A) is proportional to the temperature gradient (dT/dx). The constant of
proportionality is thermal conductivity of the material.
!
!

!"

= !"

(1)

A refers to the heat transfer area, measured as the area perpendicular to the direction
of heat flow. From Eq. (1), one can understand that to transfer a certain quantity of
heat per unit area, a larger temperature gradient is required for a material with lower
thermal conductivity. Hence to promote heat transfer by conduction, use of solid
materials with higher thermal conductivity is preferred. However, the materials used
to minimize heat losses (insulators) must possess lower thermal conductivity.
Example 1: A plane wall made of a material with thermal conductivity of 1
W/mK is used as a thermal barrier between a hot chamber and atmosphere. The
temperature of the wall on the hotter side is 250 C while that on the colder side
is 30 C. Determine the rate of heat transfer across the wall, if the wall is 1 m x 1
m x 0.1 m.
Solution: The rate of heat transfer can be calculated using Fouriers law of heat
conduction as follows:

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 3 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

!"

= !"

(2)

k = 1 W/mK; dx = 0.1 m; dT = 220; A = 1 m2 (Please note that the distance between


the hot and cold side is equal to the thickness of the wall)
Substituting the above, in Eq. (2), gives Q = 2200 W
The rate of heat transfer across the wall is 2200 W.
Thermal conductivity is a characteristic property of a material and is also a function
of temperature. The thermal conductivity of a material may be related to temperature
as:
= ! 1 +

(3)

For a material with negative value of the thermal conductivity of the material
decreases with temperature, while for materials with positive value of , the thermal
conductivity increases with temperature.
When the thermal conductivity of a material is a function of temperature, the rate of
heat transfer can be calculated as follows:
!
!

= !

!!
()
!!

; T1>T2

(4)

In Eq. (4), L refers to the thickness (dx = x2-x1)

1.2 Convection
Convection is a mode of heat transfer associated with the bulk movement of fluid.
When a particle of cold fluid comes into contact with a hot surface, it gains heat from
the surface. This fluid particles returns to the bulk and mixes with other particles,
during which it transfers heat to the bulk and returns to the bulk temperature. With
increased contacts between particles of fluid and the hot surface, more heat is
transferred from the hot surface to the fluid. Hence, heat transfer by convection
depends on the velocity of fluid and the difference in temperature between the hot
surface and the cold fluid. If the movement of fluid is achieved by use of external
devices like pumps, stirrers or blowers, it is called forced convection. When fluid
motion is set up by density difference existing between the hotter and colder parts of
the fluid, it is called natural convection. The rate of heat transfer (Q) per unit heat
transfer area (A) is related to the difference in temperature between a surface and
liquid as
!
!

= ! !

(5)

In Eq. (5), h refers to heat transfer coefficient. Unlike thermal conductivity, heat
transfer coefficient is not an inherent property of a material. It is dependent upon the

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 4 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

thermo-physical properties of fluid, velocity of the fluid and the geometry of heat
transfer system.
Example 2: A hot cylinder at a temperature of 200 C is exposed to air at 30
2
C. If the heat transfer coefficient is 20 W/m K, determine the rate of heat
transfer per unit area.
Solution:

= ! !

h=20 W/m2K; Ts = 200 C; Tf = 30 C


Therefore, the rate of heat transfer per unit is 3400 W/m2.

1.3 Radiation
Radiation is the mode of heat transfer that involves emission and absorption of
electromagnetic radiation between two objects placed at different temperatures. This
mode of heat transfer does not require a material medium and can occur even in
vacuum. This mode of heat transfer is of less importance in nuclear reactors.

2 Boiling
Boiling is a phase change (liquid to vapour) heat transfer that occurs when a liquid
comes into contact with a solid surface or wall at a temperature (Tw) greater than the
saturation temperature of the liquid (Ts). Boiling is characterized by high transfer
rates achievable due to the high heat transfer coefficient. Hence boiling is used to
remove heat from high-heat flux sources, as in nuclear reactors.
Boiling heat transfer may be classified as pool boiling and convective boiling,
depending on whether the fluid is at rest or in motion through channels due to pumps.
Convective boiling is also called flow boiling.
Let us discuss flow boiling of a liquid flowing inside a vertical heated tube under
constant heat flux conditions, as observed for a boiling liquid in the core of a nuclear
reactor. As the liquid well below its boiling point enters the heated tube, heat is
carried away from the surface by forced convection. The temperature of liquid
increases during this phase. This is similar to single phase heat transfer from a heated
surface to a flowing liquid. This regime is between A and B in Figure 1.
When the temperature of liquid bulk is below the saturation temperature, but the
surface is at a temperature above the saturation temperature, vapors are produced
closer to the surface and are condensed in the liquid bulk. This is called subcooled

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 5 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

boiling (boiling when the temperature of liquid bulk is below saturation temperature).
This regime is between B and C in Figure 1. When subcooled boiling takes place in a
vertical channel, a two-phase mixture of bubbles and liquid is present in the channel.
This is called bubbly flow.

Liquid

Vapor

D
C
B

Fig 1. Hydrodynamic and heat transfer regimes for boiling heat transfer

With the fluid moving further upwards in the channel, the temperature of the liquid
increases and reaches the saturation temperature. Under these conditions, the vapors
formed on the heated surface and that reach the liquid bulk do not condense. Hence
the vapors grow as they reach the liquid bulk. The rate of heat removal from the

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 6 of 7

NPTEL Chemical Engineering Nuclear Reactor Technology

heated surface is very high and hence the temperature of the surface either remains
constant or decreases slowly with height. This regime is called saturated nucleate
boiling regime (between C and D). The hydrodynamics of this regime is called slug
flow (between C and D).
In pressurized water reactors, the vapor fraction is low and hence the surface is cooled
by liquid by nucleate boiling. When the vapors begin to blanket the surface, the rate
of heat removal is reduced and a condition called Departure from Nucleate Boiling
(DNB) results. The Departure from Nucleate Boiling has to be minimized to
ensure that the temperature of clad and fuel do not increase rapidly.
In boiling water reactors, where the fraction of vapors is high, the surface is cooled by
the liquid film (similar to that in annular flow). When liquid is completely out of
contact with surface, Dry out results. This is also unfavorable as surface temperature
increases rapidly.

3 References/Additional Reading
1. Nuclear Energy: An Introduction to the Concepts, Systems, and Applications of
Nuclear Processes, 5/e, R.L. Murray, Butterworth Heinemann, 2000.
2. http://www.reactor.sci.kth.se/courses/SH2701Lectures/2011/Lecture11.pdf
3. Nuclear Systems I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, N.E. Todreas, M.S. Kazimi,
Taylor & Francis, 1990.

Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD

Page 7 of 7