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Heat Generation in Fuel Elements

and Temperature Distributions


Lecture - 2
Contents of Lecture 2 -1
How fuel is arranged in reactors?
What is heat generation shape in the core radially & axially?
What is heat generation rate in a fuel assembly?
Components of a fuel pin
What is heat generation rate with in a fuel pin?
Why do we need to know temperature distribution with in a
fuel pin?
Why 1-D conduction is generally assumed in a fuel pin?
Concepts of thermal resistance for estimating temperature
distribution
How to estimate temperature distribution with in bare fuel,
clad & gap conductance?






Contents of Lecture 2 -2
Differential equation for conduction and its solution
Definitions such as Q, Q, Q, LHGR, Kdo, power density, specific
power, burn up etc.
Variation of thermo physical properties of UO2 with temperature &
burn up
Estimation of temperature distribution with temperature
dependent properties
How to make use of concept of kdo
Effect on temperature distribution of the assumption of Uniform vs
depressed power generation
Application of differential equation in 2-D & 3-D and corresponding
boundary conditions
Boundary conditions for surface heat generation and change of
material
Is uniform volumetric heat generation in a fuel pin conservative

Fuel arrangement in a reactor core
Fuel in a water reactor is arranged in form of cylindrical rods.
These rods are arranged in form of clusters. One cluster is
called a fuel assembly. The core consists of several fuel
assemblies. These assemblies are arranged in different
geometrical forms in a core. These forms could be
rectangular or hexagonal or triangular. In some cores each
fuel assembly is enclosed in a shroud. The coolant flows
through the shroud over fuel rods. In the process it collects
heat from the fuel rods and gets heated up. The coolant not
flowing through shrouds (may be flowing in between the
shrouds) and thus not participating in the heat removal from
the fuel is known as bypass flow. This is about 2 to 3 percent
of the total flow. Heat is generated in the fuel pins/rods due
to a nuclear chain reaction being maintained in the core
What is heat generation shape in the
core radially?
Fission of an atom produces heat at a very short
distance from fission location. For heat generation
estimation it is assumed at the same location where
fission is taking place. Rate of fission depends on the
neutron flux population present. Consequently it is
assumed that rate of heat production is proportional to
the flux causing fission. In a thermal reactor the most
of the fissions are caused by thermal neutrons of
energy about 0.023 ev. Thus the shape of heat
production rate is proportional to thermal neutron flux
present.
The unit of thermal flux is neutrons/ .s (neutron
density * velocity)
2
m
Heat generation rate in a fuel rod/pin
The heat generation in a fuel rod is proportional
to the thermal neutron flux. It is a cosine function
axially and follows a Bessel function radially.
In a fuel pin thermal neutrons are absorbed and
fast neutrons are generated. Consequently
thermal neutron distribution takes a dip at the
center due to absorption and fast neutrons peaks
at the center for a symmetrical case
For a fuel assembly the distribution of neutron
flux is similar due to similar reasons
Shape of radial & axial thermal flux in
reactor core
Radial Shape in a finite cylinder



Axial Flux Shape

) / 405 . 2 (
0 0
R r J | | =
) / cos(
0
L z t | | =
Fuel Pin
Bare fuel:
consists of
fuel pellets
where heat is
generated
Fuel clad: zircaloy
clad to keep the
fuel in coolable
geometry
Gap between
fuel & Clad
Fuel Pin
Heat generation
rate in fuel, clad,
gap in a thermal
reactor
Why do we need to know temperature
distribution with in a fuel pin?
We need to know that fuel does not melt for
safety and other considerations. For this we
need to know the temperature distributions in
the fuel pin. The melting point of , the
commonly used fuel in thermal reactors is
around 2800 C. To know this temperature we
need to solve 1-D differential equation for
heat conduction in radial direction with
convective heat removal by coolant as one
boundary condition.
2
UO
Why 1-D conduction equation?
The temperature gradients in the radial
direction are of the order 1000 C in about 0.6
cm as compared the gradients in axial
direction which are of the order of 50 to 70 C
in about 6 m. Consequently heat conduction
in axial direction can be neglected as
compared to radial direction. If the heat
generation is symmetric the heat flow in the
third direction can also be neglected.
Thermal Resistances
For a cylindrical hollow slab



For a rectangular slab
) 2 /( ) / ln(
1 2
lk r r
Q
T
t =
A
) /( / kA l Q T = A
These resistances can be combined in series or
parallel just as in electrical network
Convective Heat Resistance
) /( . 1 ) / ( hA Q T = A
Differential heat conduction equation
in cylindrical coordinates
0
) / (
/ 1 =
' ' '
+
c
c c c
Q
r
r T kr
r
Boundary Conditions:
1. At the center
0 =
c
c
r
T
2. At the surface
r
T
K Q
c
c
=
' '
Bare fuel surface temperature is determined
from coolant side
Initial (steady conditions)Conditions
(BCs?)
0 / ) / ( / 1 =
' ' '
+ c c c c Q r r T kr r
Clad surface temperature
Outer
Clad surface temperature
Fuel Surface Temperature
Fuel C/L Temperature
Significance of Gap Conductance?
Gap Conductance increases significantly not
only the fuel center line temperature but also
the fuel average temperature. In other words
it increase the fuel stored heat above the clad
temperature
Solution of differential equation
(Constant thermal conductivity)
0 / ) / ( / 1 =
' ' '
+ c c c c Q r r T kr r
Assuming K constant and integrating we get
0
2
1
2
= + + c c C
Qr
r T Kr
Integrating again
At r=0 temperature derivative is zero
hence
0
1
= C
0
4
2
2
= +
' ' '
+ C
r Q
KT
2
C
is equal to 4 / ) (
2
a Q kT
s
' ' '

) 4 /( ) (
2
2
K r a Q T T
i s i

' ' '
=
How tp find fuel surface temperature?
Fuel surface temperature =
Coolant temperature +Temperature drop in the
clad + temperature drop in fuel clad gap

l r r Q T T
i o coolant s
t 2 /( ) / ln( ' ' + =
Some important definitions -1
Linear Heat Generation Rate (LHGR): is the
total amount of heat generated in fuel per
unit length of fuel.
is the volumetric source of heat
generation in the fuel.

Surface heat flux
Q
' ' '
2
* r Q LHGR t
' ' '
=
LHGR Q =
'
) /( D Q Q t
'
=
' '
Some important definitions - 2
Power density is the amount of heat
generated in a reactor per unit volume of the
reactor
Specific power is the amount of heat
generated per unit weight of the fuel
Burn up is the amount of energy extracted per
unit weight of the fuel
For the same linear heat
generation rate does the
center line temperature
depend on the fuel radius for
the same fuel surface
temperature?
Thermal Conductivity of UO
2
Solution of differential equation
(Variable thermal conductivity)
0 / ) / ( / 1 =
' ' '
+ c c c c Q r r T kr r
0 ) / ( / 1 ) / )( / ( ) / (
2 2
= c c + c c c c + c c r T K r r T r K r T K
r
T
T
K
r
K
c
c
c
c
=
c
c
For solving the differential equation by finite difference
methods the above mentioned equation should be used.
Derivative of thermal conductivity wrt temperature should
be calculated and fed into the program
Concept
0 / ) / ( / 1 =
' ' '
+ c c c c Q r r T kr r
0 2 /
2
=
' ' '
+
c
c
r Q
r
T
Kr
} }
=
' ' '
= c t t t 4 / / ) 4 / (
2
LHGR r Q T K
center
surface
T
T
}
KdT
Term on the left can be obtained from the K graph
shown earlier by plotting area under the graph against
temperature. The graph so obtained can be used for
estimating temperature distribution in the fuel pin
Steps involved in estimating center line
temperature of fuel from surface
temperature and graph of
}
KdT
1. Get onto x axis of the graph to the point where t=surface
temperature
2. Go vertically up and find the value of KdT corresponding
to surface temperature (say ONE)
3. Calculate from LHGR the value of Kdt change in the fuel
pin
4. Add the value to ONE (say TWO)
5. Find the value of temperature corresponding to TWO
6. This will be equal to center line temperature
Can we find the temperature distribution in the fuel
pin using this concept?

Effect on temperature distribution of
the assumption of Uniform vs
depressed power generation
A computer code has to be run to find out
which case is conservative. However, a
qualitative argument can prove that
assumption of uniform volumetric heat
generation is always conservative assumption
2 2 2
'''
2 2 2 2
1 1
0
T T T T
k q
r r r r z u
| |
c c c c
+ + + + =
|
c c c c
\ .
2 2 2
2 2 2
'''
0
T T T
k q
x y z
| |
c c c
+ + + =
|
c c c
\ .
Differential equation for heat conduction in
rectangular, cylindrical & spherical coordinates
(i) Dirichlet Boundary Condition

The temperature at the boundaries is maintained
constant. This condition is normally applicable if a phase
change (boiling or condensation) is taking place which
occurs at constant temperature. This is represented by
= Constant


. (ii) Neumann Boundary Condition

The heat flux at the boundary is maintained constant. This is
normally the case for a steady constant heat flux process such
as taking place in a nuclear fuel pin surface. This is represented
by


surface
T
''
- .
dT
q k const
s
dx
surface
= =
(iii) Cauchys Boundary Conditions

This is convective surface boundary condition
where heat flux at the surface of a solid cooled by
a liquid is proportional to the temperature
difference between surface temperature and liquid
temperature.

) (

= =
' '
T T h
dx
dT
k q
s
s
s