One-way coupled simulation of FIV in a 7-pin wire-wrapped fuel pin bundle

Landon Brockmeyer, Elia Merzari, Jerome Solberg, Yassin Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A common fuel geometry found in sodium cooled reactor designs is the hexagonal lattice of wire-wrapped fuel pins. The wire-wrappers, which replace the more common spacer grids, act as a spacer between the fuel pins, while simultaneously increasing the fluid mixing between subchannels. The induced transverse flow, while good for mixing, increases the force load experienced by the fuel pins, increasing the possibility of problematic flow induced vibrations. The primary source of vibrations is turbulent buffeting, so very small in amplitude, but capable of rupturing the fuel cladding by fretting. The vast majority of research on fretting has been for bare rods with spacer grids. There are several significant ways that wire-wrapped fuel pins differ from bare rods that may have significant impact on the vibrations present. The increased transverse flow and asymmetrical flow pattern may result in larger and imbalanced force loads on the pins. The helical bracing of each pin may result in unique vibration patterns, and gaps may form between pins affecting how they are braced. Simulation allows for the observation of the forces present, how the flow field affects these forces, and how the structure responds and can be repeated for multiple cases for relatively low cost. In the present study, simulation of the flow induced vibrations for a 7-pin wire-wrapped fuel pin bundle is carried out by coupling Nek5000, a spectral element LES/DNS solver with DIABLO, a finite element CSM solver. The small amplitude vibrations allow for the assumption that the structure motion has negligible effect on the fluid flow, permitting the much less computationally expensive one-direction coupling. In order to gather significant force history data for the 2.63 helical pitch structure, a scheme was developed to artificially create force history from the power spectrum density of the one-pitch CFD simulation forces. The vibrations could then be simulated in the structure multiple times varying the contact and gaps between various pins. This allows for the search of worst-case scenarios and informs about the types of fretting that might be present. The simulation geometry is based on an experiment for comparison. However, the viscosity of the simulation was increased by a factor of four to make the simulation computationally feasible. While validation is not possible, comparisons are still valuable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110367
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Jan 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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