Thesis (M.S., Nuclear Engineering) -- University of Idaho, 2017 | Spacer grids maintain the structural integrity of the fuel rods within fuel bundles of nuclear power plants. They can also improve flow characteristics within the nuclear reactor core. However, spacer grids add reactor coolant pressure losses, which require estimation and engineering into the design. Several mathematical models and computer codes were developed over decades to predict spacer grid pressure loss. Most models use generalized characteristics, measured by older, less precise equipment. The study of OECD/US-NRC BWR Full-Size Fine Mesh Bundle Tests (BFBT) provides updated and detailed experimental single and two-phase results, using technically advanced flow measurements for a wide range of boundary conditions.
This thesis compares the predictions from the mathematical models to the BFBT experimental data by utilizing statistical formulae for accuracy and precision. This thesis also analyzes the effects of BFBT flow characteristics on spacer grids. No single model has been identified as valid for all flow conditions. However, some models’ predictions perform better than others within a range of flow conditions, based on the accuracy and precision of the models’ predictions. This study also demonstrates that pressure and flow quality have a significant effect on two-phase flow spacer grid models’ biases.