Formation and transport of lead oxide in a non-isothermal lead-bismutheutectic loop

Kristof Gladinez, Kris Rosseel, Jun Lim, Alessandro Marino, Geraldine Heynderickx, Alexander Aerts

Research outputpeer-review


Lead oxide (PbO) formation can occur in Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE)-cooled nuclear systems in case of oxygen ingress or temperature decrease of the coolant beyond the normal operation ranges. In the present work the formation of lead oxide in an actively cooled LBE flow is studied. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to predict the nucleation, growth and dissolution of PbO particles. Solid oxide particles are modeled as a pseudocontinuous phase, using the Kinetic Theory of Granular Flow (KTGF) to account for particle-flow interaction. The particle size distribution (PSD) is accounted for using Population Balance Equations/Models (PBE/PBM). The results obtained from the model are qualitatively in good agreement with experimental results obtained in the MEXICO loop at SCK·CEN. The calculated PSD reveals that the majority of the oxide particles are expected to be in the sub-micron range. Experimental results indicate that in the studied conditions PbO nucleates in the LBE bulk leading to suspended particles in the LBE flow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - 24 Apr 2019

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