Mesh Generation and Numerical Simulation of Fluid Entering a Large Tube Bundle

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A three-dimensional finite element model is used to calculate fluid entering a tank containing a large array of tubes (assemblies). The time-dependent primitive equations of fluid motion are solved using equal order, isoparametric hexahedral elements. Petrov-Galerkin weighting, mass lumping, and reduced integration are utilized with explicit time marching. The tank is 7.5m tall by 6.7m in diameter, and contains a total of 600 tubes, consisting primarily of 10.8-cm-diam assemblies with some 2.5-cm-diam control rods. The 10.8-cm assemblies are hollow and thin shelled; the 2.5-cm control rods are solid. The fluid first flows into plenum, then begins to drain into the assemblies, which are positioned below the plenum; the fluid subsequently discharges from the ends of the assemblies near the bottom of the tank and recirculates within the tank prior to returning to the plenum. A total of 623,040 elements was used to discretize the plenum and tank vessel. Over 30 MW of storage were required to execute the problem on Cray Y-MP, necessitating the use of a special Cray sparse matrix solver. The numerical results predict a marked decrease in the amount of fluid available to the interior tubes.



Fluid mechanics; Heat – Convection; Heat exchangers; Mathematical models


Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics | Heat Transfer, Combustion | Mechanical Engineering


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