Status, perspectives, and added value of high fidelity simulations for safety and design

E. M.J. Komen, A. Mathur, F. Roelofs, E. Merzari, I. Tiselj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


With the increase in computational power, High Fidelity (HiFi) simulations become increasingly important to nuclear thermal hydraulics for fundamental understanding of turbulent flow and heat transfer phenomena and for further development and validation of engineering CFD models. We consider Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) and Large Eddy Simulation (LES) as HiFi analyses. In this paper, we present an overview of single-phase and two-phase flow DNS simulations relevant for nuclear reactor safety and design purposes. In order to limit the scope, this overview has a focus on DNS simulations of fully turbulent non-reacting incompressible flows. LES approaches are briefly mentioned in certain areas, where LES-to-DNS upgrade is expected to happen in the near future. We first explain the concept of DNS and related concepts like Under-resolved DNS (UDNS) and quasi-DNS (q-DNS). Subsequently, we present the numerical methods which are generally used for HiFi simulations. A wider span of numerical methods can be observed in single-phase flow simulations than in two-phase flow simulations, where the later require additional algorithms for tracking of the interfaces between the two phases. Consequently, two-phase DNS simulations are not immune to modelling errors, and are much more complex than their single-phase counterparts. Next, an overview is given of single-phase flow DNS simulations. We start with basic cases like turbulent channel and pipe flows, which are mainly useful for development and validation of less detailed engineering CFD models. We continue with more recent and more complex cases like, e.g., flows in a rod bundle and a pebble bed, which are directly applicable in nuclear engineering. Next, an overview of two-phase flow HiFi simulations is presented in a similar fashion. The importance of the availability of the presented HiFi simulations is explained by addressing their role for further development and validation of engineering CFD models which are used for the eventual industrial applications. The importance of HiFi simulation data, complementary to experimental data, for uncertainty quantification and machine learning is explained. Finally, future challenges for HiFi simulations, especially for two-phase flow, are elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112082
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Status, perspectives, and added value of high fidelity simulations for safety and design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this