Experimental investigation of the heat transfer characteristics and operation limits of a fork-type heat pipe for passive cooling of a spent fuel pool

Changhwan Lim, Jonghwi Choi, Hyungdae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

A fork-type heat pipe (FHP) is a passive heat-transport and air-cooling device used to remove the decay heat of spent nuclear fuels stored in a liquid pool during a station blackout. FHPs have a unique geometrical design to resolve the significant mismatch between the convective heat transfer coefficients of the evaporator and condenser parts. The evaporator at the bottom is a single heat-exchanger tube, whereas the condenser at the top consists of multiple finned tubes to maximize the heat transfer area. In this study, the heat transfer characteristics and operating limits of an FHP device were investigated experimentally. A laboratory-scale model of an FHP was manufactured, and a series of tests were conducted while the temperature was varied to simulate a spent fuel pool. As an index of the average heat transfer performance, the loop conductance was computed from the measurement data. The results show that the loop conductance of the FHP increased with the heat transfer rate but deteriorated significantly at the operating limit. The maximum attainable heat transfer rate of the unit FHP model was accurately predicted by the existing correlations of the counter-current flow limit for a single-rod-type heat pipe. In addition, the instant heat transfer behaviors of the FHP model under different temperature conditions were examined to interpret the measured loop conductance variation and operating limit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7862
JournalEnergies
Volume14
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Fork-type heat pipe
  • Loop conductance
  • Operation limit
  • Passive air cooling
  • Spent fuel pool

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