Turbulence models and Large Eddy Simulations applied to ascending mixed convection flows

Amir Keshmiri, Mark A. Cotton, Yacine Addad, Dominique Laurence

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    45 Scopus citations


    Coolant flows in the cores of current gas-cooled nuclear reactors consist of ascending vertical flows in a large number of parallel passages. Under post-trip conditions such heated turbulent flows may be significantly modified from the forced convection condition by the action of buoyancy, and the thermal-hydraulic regime is no longer one of pure forced convection. These modifications are associated primarily with changes to the turbulence structure. Flow laminarization may occur, and in that event heat transfer rates may be as low as 40% of those in the corresponding forced convection case. The present work is concerned with the modelling of such 'mixed' convection flows in a vertical heated pipe. All fluid properties are assumed to be constant and buoyancy is accounted for within the Boussinesq approximation. Six different Eddy Viscosity Models (EVMs) are examined against experimental measurements and the direct numerical simulation (DNS) data of You et al. (Int J Heat Mass Transfer 46:1613-1627, 2003). The EVMs selected for study embody distinct physical refinements with respect to the parent high-Reynolds-number k-ε model. Large Eddy Simulations employing the classical Smagorinsky sub-grid-scale model are also presented. It is found that the early EVM scheme of Launder and Sharma (1974) is the turbulence model in the closest agreement with direct simulation results for the ratio of mixed-to-forced convection Nusselt number, Nu/Nu 0; the model in the poorest accord with the DNS data is a k-ω;-SST formulation. However, in relation to comparisons with both numerical and experimental data for forced convection Nusselt number, Nu 0, the present work reveals that some of the more recent models perform better than the Launder-Sharma scheme. No single scheme is in consistently close agreement with the numerical simulation flow profiles.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)407-434
    Number of pages28
    JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 2012


    • Buoyancy-influenced flow
    • Heat transfer impairment
    • Nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics
    • Rans
    • Strain parameter


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