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Kirkland, Karen Professor


I established the Laboratory for Nuclear Heat Transfer Systems with the initial goals of investigating condensation heat transfer mechanisms, developing new reactor designs and safety systems, and advancing the state-of-the-art in reactor safety analysis. A funded research area in severe accident analysis has come about that allows me to return to my PhD research.

I believe that developing a strong, externally funded program is an area to be emphasized, particularly because I have interests in experimental research. To this end, I have maintained a continuously funded laboratory with major investments into equipment that allow me to acquire unique, more challenging data than that from many other heat transfer laboratories. In particular, my 157-kW steam generator system allows me to perform steam-water experiments at elevated pressure for two-phase (gas-liquid) phenomena occurring in nuclear reactors, whereas much of the published data is for air-water systems at atmospheric pressure. I maintain several large-scale (for a university lab) ASME-certified pressure 2.vessels and state-of-the-art instrumentation and data acquisition systems, along with project-specific test sections.

My three main lines of research at TAMU, with their trajectories and impacts are summarized below:

1. Long-term cooling of a nuclear reactor core under extended loss of AC power conditions

2. Severe Accident Modeling

3. Counter-Current Flow Limitation (CCLF)

Research Areas research areas

HR job title

  • Professor