Direct Numerical Simulation of the Flow Through a Randomly Packed Pebble Bed Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The proposition for molten salt and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors has increased the focus on the dynamics and physics in randomly packed pebble beds. Research is being conducted on the validity of these designs as a possible contestant for the fourth-generation nuclear power systems. A detailed understanding of the coolant flow behavior is required in order to ensure proper cooling of the reactor core during normal and accident conditions. In order to increase the understanding of the flow through these complex geometries and enhance the accuracy of lower-fidelity modeling, high-fidelity approaches such as direct numerical simulation (DNS) can be utilized. Nek5000, a spectral-element computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code, was used to develop DNS fluid flow data. The flow domain consisted of 147 pebbles enclosed by a bounding wall. In the work presented, the Reynolds numbers ranged from 430 to 1050 based on the pebble diameter and inlet velocity. Characteristics of the flow domain such as volume averaged porosity, axial porosity, and radial porosity were studied and compared with correlations available in the literature. Friction factors from the DNS results for all Reynolds numbers were compared with correlations in the literature. The first- and second-order statistics show good agreement with the available experimental data. Turbulence length scales were analyzed in the flow. Reynolds stress anisotropy was characterized by utilizing invariant analysis. Overall, the results of the analysis in this study provide deeper understanding of the flow behavior and the effect of the wall in packed beds.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yildiz, M. A., Botha, G., Yuan, H., Merzari, E., Kurwitz, R. C., & Hassan, Y. A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Yildiz, Mustafa Alper||Botha, Gerrit||Yuan, Haomin||Merzari, Elia||Kurwitz, Richard C||Hassan, Yassin A

publication date

  • April 2020