Preliminary tests of particle image velocimetry for the upper plenum of a scaled model of a very high temperature gas cooled reactor

Kyle L. McVay, Jae Hyung Park, Saya Lee, Yassin A. Hassan, N. K. Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is a Generation IV nuclear reactor that is currently under design. During the design process multiple studies have been performed to develop safety codes for the reactor. Two major accidents of interest are the Pressurized Conduction Cooldown (PCC), and the Depressurized Conduction Cooldown (DCC) scenario. Both involve loss of forced coolant to the core, except the latter involves a pressure loss in the main coolant loop. During normal operation a circulator pumps the coolant into the upper plenum and down through the core, but following a loss of forced coolant the natural convection causes the flow to reverse to go through the core into the upper plenum. Computer codes may be developed to simulate the phenomenon that occurs in a PCC or DCC scenario, but benchmark data is needed to validate the simulations; previously there were no experimental test facilities to provide this. This study will cover the design, construction, and preliminary testing of a 1/16th scaled model of a VHTR that uses Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) for flow visualization in the upper plenum. Three tests were run for a partially heated core at statistically steady state, and PIV was used to generate the velocity field of three naturally convective adjacent jets; the turbulent mixing of the jets was observed. After performing a sensitivity analysis the flow rate of a single pipe was extracted from the PIV flow field, and compared with an ultrasonic flowmeter and analytic flow rate. All the values lied within the uncertainty ranges, validating the test results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
JournalProgress in Nuclear Energy
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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