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Fluid-Structure Interaction Modeling of High-Aspect Ratio Nuclear Fuel Plates Using COMSOL Multiphysics®

F. Curtis[1], K. Ekici[1], J. D. Freels[2]
[1]The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
[2]Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA

The High Flux Isotope Reactor at the Oak Ridge National Lab is in the research stage of converting its fuel from high-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium. One of the areas being explored is the fluid-structure interaction phenomenon due to the interaction of thin fuel plates (50 mils thickness) and the cooling fluid (water). Detailed computational simulations have only recently become feasible due to improved algorithms and advancements in computing technology. Multiphysics problems may be solved in COMSOL Multiphysics® using a fully-coupled and implicit solution algorithm; this is crucial in obtaining a stable and accurate solution. Our initial findings show that COMSOL can accurately model such problems due to its ability to closely couple the fluid dynamics and the structural dynamics problems.