TWO-PHASE FLUID FLOW
= two-phase friction multiplier (no units)
Hf , two-phase
= two-phase head loss due to friction (ft)
Hf , saturated liquid = single-phase head loss due to friction (ft)
The friction multiplier (R) has been found to be much higher at lower pressures than at higher
pressures. The two-phase head loss can be many times greater than the single-phase head loss.
Although a wide range of names has been used for two-phase flow patterns, we shall define only
three types of flow. The flow patterns to be used are defined as follows:
Bubbly flow: there is dispersion of vapor bubbles in a continuum of liquid.
Slug flow: in bubbly flow, the bubbles grow by coalescence and ultimately
become of the same order of diameter as the tube. This generates the typical
bullet-shaped bubbles that are characteristic of the slug-flow regime.
Annular flow: the liquid is now distributed between a liquid film flowing up the
wall and a dispersion of droplets flowing in the vapor core of the flow.
Unstable flow can occur in the form of flow oscillations or flow reversals. Flow oscillations are
variations in flow due to void formations or mechanical obstructions from design and
manufacturing. A flow oscillation in one reactor coolant channel sometimes causes flow
oscillations in the surrounding coolant channels due to flow redistribution. Flow oscillations are
undesirable for several reasons. First, sustained flow oscillations can cause undesirable forced
mechanical vibration of components. This can lead to failure of those components due to fatigue.
Second, flow oscillations can cause system control problems of particular importance in liquid-
cooled nuclear reactors because the coolant is also used as the moderator. Third, flow
oscillations affect the local heat transfer characteristics and boiling. It has been found through
testing that the critical heat flux (CHF) required for departure from nucleate boiling (DNB) can
be lowered by as much as 40% when flow is oscillating. This severely reduces the thermal limit
and the power density along the length of the reactor core. Again, it has been found through
testing that flow oscillations are not a significant problem for some pressurized water reactors
unless power is above 150% for the normal flow conditions. Flow oscillations can be a problem
during natural circulation operations because of the low flow rates present.
During natural circulation, the steam bubbles formed during a flow oscillation may have enough
of an effect to actually cause complete flow reversal in the affected channel.