Research and Development
Research & Development
Read about the current projects being undertaken by the Center below. PDF reports and technical abstracts may also be available for viewing via the button under each project.
Evaluation of Microreactor Requirements and Performance in an Existing Well-Characterized Microgrid
Microreactors represent a transformative energy technology that will be critical to the nation’s transition away from a fossil-fueled infrastructure. In support of these efforts, the opportunities and challenges of deploying these devices in micro-grids will be quantified. Emphasis is placed on economic competitiveness and feasibility in campus and national lab micro-grids.
Direct Catalytic Heating with Microreactors for Hydrogen and Fertilizer production
Process heat for industrial applications presents a major application for nuclear microreactors via a coupled heat transfer system. Integration of such a system is analyzed by use of a moving packed bed heat exchanger (MPBHX) that would energize a granular catalytic flow. This flow would then be utilized in a chemical reactor to enable a variety of useful chemical processes.
Measurement of Thermophysical Properties of Advanced Reactor Coolants and Liquid Moderators
High temperature molten salts are central to the designs of many advanced reactor concepts where they act as both coolants and working fluids, as well as novel applications outside of nuclear engineering. However, due to their high temperatures, they are notoriously difficult to handle and measure effectively. In this study, experiments are performed to accurately calculate the thermophysical properties of various salts over a range of temperatures in support of wider applications and research.
Multi-Mode Imaging for TRISO-fueled Pebble Identification
A common nuclear reactor design uses fuel in the form of billiard ball sized pebbles, which flow through the core continuously and can be reinserted into the core. Understanding how much radiation and damage a pebble accrues as it passes through the core, as well as the reactivity effects of reinserting an irradiated pebble into the core, are critical to designing safe and economical fuel handling protocols. A combined theoretical and experimental approach will be employed to understand in detail how the fuel units move through the core to address these issues.
Heat Pipe Modeling
With high-resolution multiphase computational fluid dynamics (CFD), this project aims to progressively capture the internal physics within heat pipes. Initial work developed a CFD model to analyze thermal variations in surface tension, which was then validated against previous numerical and analytical work. Presently, the focus is on nucleate boiling and film-wise models for mass and heat transfer in closed thermosyphons. Work is ongoing to develop an experimental heat pipe facility to collect data not presently in the literature.