Review of the Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transport Phenomena in Packed Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors


Knowledge and proper safety analyses of the gas coolant and heat transport mechanism in the dynamic core of packed pebble bed nuclear reactors pose challenges to the reliable design and efficient operation of these reactors. Therefore, this paper carefully reviews most of the gas coolant mixing and heat transport studies performed for the fluid flow and heat transfer processes in packed pebble bed reactors (PBRs). It begins with a brief introduction and description of nuclear PBRs. The second section summarizes the physical characteristics of packed bed reactors in terms of the bed structure (porosity) and its radial and axial distributions. The next section examines in detail the characteristics of fluid flow in terms of flow regime identification and pressure drop measurements and correlations. The fourth section considers the investigations and quantifications of the gas dispersion and mixing phenomena of packed bed reactors. The next section deals with the current state of the heat transfer characteristics, measurements, and predictions including both empirical correlations and semiempirical model-based studies. Tables summarize the reported experimental studies along with their operating condition ranges. Comprehensive comparisons with the empirical correlations and available models are presented with significant findings. The content and findings of the present work could provide a thorough understanding and useful information and advance knowledge of the pressure drop, gas coolant mixing, and convective heat transport phenomena in packed pebble bed nuclear reactors.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


U.S. Department of Energy, Grant NERI-08-043

Keywords and Phrases

Gas Coolant; Heat Transfer; Nuclear Reactor; Packed Pebble Bed; Pressure Drop

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1943-748X; 0029-5639

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2023 Taylor and Francis Group; Taylor and Francis; American Nuclear Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2023

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