Direct numerical simulation of fluid flow in a 5x5 square rod bundle

Adam Kraus, Elia Merzari, Thomas Norddine, Oana Marin, Sofiane Benhamadouche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Characterization of parallel flow through rod bundles is of key importance in assessing the performance and safety of several engineering systems, including a majority of nuclear reactor concepts. Inhomogeneities in the bundle cross-section can present complex flow phenomena, including varying local conditions of turbulence. With the ever-increasing capabilities of high-performance computing, Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of turbulent flows is becoming more feasible. Through resolving all scales of turbulence, DNS can serve as a “numerical experiment,” and can provide substantial insight into flow physics, but at considerable computational cost. Thus to date, the DNS in open literature for rod bundle flows is relatively scarce, and largely limited to unit-cell domains. Since wall effects are important in rod bundle flows, a multiple-pin DNS study can expand understanding of rod bundle flows while providing valuable reference data for evaluating reduced-resolution techniques. In this work, DNS of a 5x5 square bare rod bundle representative of typical light water reactor fuel dimensions was performed using the spectral element code Nek5000. Turbulent microscales based on an advanced Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes model were used to establish the required DNS resolution. Velocity and Reynolds stress fields are analyzed in detail, and invariant analysis is used for further investigation into flow physics. The results show stark changes in the structure of turbulence in the edge gaps, suggesting the presence of gap vortices in these regions. In addition, turbulent kinetic energy budgets are presented to more fully illustrate the various turbulent processes. These data can prove useful for rigorous evaluation of lower-fidelity turbulence modeling approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108833
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct numerical simulation of fluid flow in a 5x5 square rod bundle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this