Crud has been observed on the fuel rod surfaces in a variety of fuel designs around the world, and in some limited situations fuel performance was compromised due to crud-induced power shift (CIPS) and/or crud-induced localized corrosion (CILC). It is generally believed that crud deposition depends on fuel rod surface sub-cooled nucleate boiling, coolant chemistry and the availability of particles from component corrosion or from reinserted fuel. The formation, release, and accumulation of crud on the fuel and its influence on CIPS and/or CILC is a complicated process involving multi-physics phenomena. This study uses Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Lagrangian Particle Tracking (LPT) techniques in analysis of particle transfer behavior in fuel rod bundles focusing on flow swirl and turbulence impacts. It is hoped that high fidelity CFD results can provide insights into particle transfer behaviors in the bulk coolant as well as near the fuel rods, which may provide guidance for model development of lumped or integrated analysis methods.
The CFD model was built based on the best practices learned from previous single-phase analyses. The LPT options, including particle injectors, forces on particles, and solver settings, were verified by comparing the simulated results to the test data from simple geometry with various particle sizes, covering deposition mechanisms in diffusion-, turbulent- and inertial-dominated regimes. The tested model then was applied to Westinghouse fuel designs with and without Intermediate Flow Mixing (IFM) grids. Particle concentration and size distributions in the coolant around fuel rods were obtained and the effects of grid induced swirl flow on particle transfer were identified. The analysis results may be included in lumped or integrated crud formation/release analysis methods. Limitations and potential improvements of this analysis method are also discussed.