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The effect of a micro bubble dispersed gas phase on hydrogen isotope transport in liquid metals under nuclear irradiation

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J. Fradera; S. Cuesta-Lopez


The present work intend to be a first step towards the understanding and quantification of the hydrogen isotope complex phenomena in liquid metals for nuclear technology. Liquid metals under nuclear irradiation in, e.g., breeding blankets of a nuclear fusion reactor would generate tritium which is to be extracted and recirculated as fuel. At the same time that tritium is bred, helium is also generated and may precipitate in the form of nano bubbles. Other liquid metal systems of a nuclear reactor involve hydrogen isotope absorption processes, e.g., tritium extraction system. Hence, hydrogen isotope absorption into gas bubbles modelling and control may have a capital importance regarding design, operation and safety. Here general models for hydrogen isotopes transport in liquid metal and absorption into gas phase, that do not depend on the mass transfer limiting regime, are exposed and implemented in OpenFOAM (R) CFD tool for 0D-3D simulations. Results for a 0D case show the impact of a He dispersed phase of nano bubbles on hydrogen isotopes inventory at different temperatures as well as the inventory evolution during a He nucleation event. In addition, 1D and 2D axisymmetric cases are exposed showing the effect of a He dispersed gas phase on hydrogen isotope permeation through a lithium lead eutectic alloy and the effect of vortical structures on hydrogen isotope transport at a backward facing step. Exposed results give a valuable insight on current nuclear technology regarding the importance of controlling hydrogen isotope transport and its interactions with nucleation event through gas absorption processes. (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.






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