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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 17, 2023

Numerical simulation of subcooled flow boiling for nuclear engineering applications using OpenFOAM

  • Zhi Yang EMAIL logo and Joachim Herb
From the journal Kerntechnik


This work is focused on the development and validation of models and methods for the simulation of wall boiling in nuclear engineering applications with the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code OpenFOAM. The new chtMultiRegionReactingTwoPhaseEulerFoam solver was developed based on the reactingTwoPhaseEulerFoam solver of OpenFOAM Foundation version 7. The solver is used for the simulation of two-phase flow under consideration of wall boiling and conjugate heat transfer (CHT) between solid structure and two-phase fluid regions. The Euler–Euler approach for two-phase flows was used. The heat flux during wall boiling was calculated with the help of the extended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute wall heat flux partitioning model, in which the convective heat flux between solid wall and two-phase flow with high void fractions was also considered. The solver was validated against experimental data from the OECD/NEA PWR Subchannel and Bundle Tests benchmark. This Nuclear Power Energy Corporation (NUPEC) database provides data for different fuel assembly subchannel geometries at different thermal-hydraulic conditions. 10 experimental runs with different boundary conditions of the benchmark exercise I-1 were simulated with the chtMultiRegionReactingTwoPhaseEulerFoam solver. The solver showed good numerical stability in all examined cases, which captured different boiling regimes with up to cross-section averaged void fractions of 0.6. The results were compared with measured data for the averaged over the cross-section of the investigated geometry void fractions. Good agreement with experimental data was observed.

Corresponding author: Zhi Yang, Gesellschaft für Anlagen und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) gGmbH, Boltzmannstr. 14, 85748 Garching, Germany, E-mail:

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This work has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology within reactor safety research project RS 1566: “CFD investigations of multiphysical phenomena within the framework of the safety assessment of existing reactor plants” and the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection based on decisions by the German Bundestag.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2022-11-24
Published Online: 2023-03-17
Published in Print: 2023-04-25

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