Flow field characteristics of a 127-pin rod bundle with hexagonal spacer grids Academic Article uri icon


  • A determination of nominal flow phenomena in liquid metal fast reactor (LMFR) fuel assemblies is critical toward generation-IV reactor development. Axially positioned spacer grids are used to maintain the geometry of hexagonal rod bundles and simultaneously introduce perturbations in the flow. Three-dimensional (3D) printed asymmetric honeycomb spacer grids were installed in a prototypical 127-pin LMFR fuel assembly model to study complex fluid dynamics interactions induced by the spacer grid and rods. To characterize flow dynamics in this intricate geometry, time-resolved particle image velocimetry (TR-PIV) using the matched-index-of-refraction method was employed to obtain non-intrusive velocity measurements for three axial planes (one near-wall and two interior planes) at a Reynolds number of 6000. The statistical TR-PIV results compared sub-channel-dependent normalized time-averaged velocity, velocity fluctuations, Reynolds stress, vorticity, and turbulence kinetic energy distributions. TR-PIV line profiles characterized downstream spacer grid flow dynamics. Two-point spatial and spatialtemporal cross-correlation fields revealed local coherent structures and quantified convection velocities of traveling vortices. Spatialtemporal decomposition using dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) applied to the near-wall vorticity fields extracted turbulent structures and flow instabilities in the wake region of the spacer grid, along with their decay and frequency rates. Reduced-order velocity fields from DMD reconstructions identified the most energy-containing coherent structures persistent in the near-wall region. This research provides experimental data sets and analyses of flow behavior in rod bundles with hexagonal spacer grids. The results are critical toward LMFR design and geometry optimization, crucial for the validation of computational fluid dynamics and reduced-order flow models.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Menezes, C., Melsheimer, T., & Hassan, Y.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Menezes, Craig||Melsheimer, Trevor||Hassan, Yassin AA

publication date

  • June 2023