Experimental measurement of graphite wear in helium at elevated temperatures and the discrete element modelling of graphite dust production inside the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor

Wilke, Charel Daniel (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Production of graphite dust inside the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) influences the reactor operation negatively. Graphite is used as a moderator in the reactor core and the formation and transportation of graphite dust away from the reactor core decreases the amount of moderator which in turn has a negative impact on the reactor operation. High levels of radioactive dust may also contaminate reactor components which may pose a health risk to maintenance personnel. In this study a pressure vessel was designed and used to measure the wear of a graphite pebble in helium at elevated temperatures. By means of a multi-linear regression analysis a proper mathematical function was established in order to relate graphite wear to certain tribological parameters. These parameters were identified through a literature study. Discrete Element Modelling (DEM) was used to simulate the gravitational flow of graphite pebbles through the reactor core. The experimentally determined mathematical function was incorporated into the DEM simulation to estimate the annual mass of graphite dust to be produced by the PBMR pebble bed as a result of pebble-pebble interaction and pebble-wall interaction during refuelling.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vorming van grafiet stof binne die korrelbed-modulêre reaktor (PBMR) beïnvloed die werking daarvan negatief. Grafiet word gebruik as 'n moderator in die reaktor kern en die vorming en vervoer van grafietstof weg van die reaktor kern lei tot 'n afname in die hoeveelheid moderator en dit het 'n negatiewe impak op die werking van die reaktor. Hoë vlakke van radioaktiewe grafietstof kontamineer ook reaktorkomponente wat 'n gesondheidsrisiko vir onderhoudspersoneel inhou. In hierdie studie was 'n drukvat ontwerp en gebruik om die slytasie van 'n grafietkorrel in helium by verhoogde temperature te meet. 'n Multi-lineêre regressie analise is dan gebruik om 'n wiskundige funksie daar te stel wat die verband tussen grafietslytasie en die eksperimentele parameters vas stel. Hierdie parameters was met behulp van 'n literatuurstudie geïdentifiseer. Diskrete Element Modellering (DEM) was gebruik om die gravitasionele vloei van grafietkorrels in die reaktor te modelleer. Die eksperimenteel bepaalde wiskundige funksie word in die DEM simulasie ge-inkorporeer om 'n skatting te maak van die jaarlikse massa grafietstof wat gevorm sal word in die PBMR korrelbed as 'n gevolg van korrel-korrel interaksie en korrel-wand interaksie gedurende hersirkulasie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80211
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