Visual simulation of thermal fluid dynamics in a pressurized water reactor

Zhe Fan, Yu-Chuan Kuo, Ye Zhao, Feng Qiu, Arie Kaufman, William Arcieri
Center for Visual Computing and Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4400, USA
The Visual Computer, Volume 25, Number 11, 985-996


   title={Visual simulation of thermal fluid dynamics in a pressurized water reactor},

   author={Fan, Z. and Kuo, Y.C. and Zhao, Y. and Qiu, F. and Kaufman, A. and Arcieri, W.},

   journal={The Visual Computer},








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We present a simulation and visualization system for a critical application-analysis of the thermal fluid dynamics inside a pressurized water reactor of a nuclear power plant when cold water is injected into the reactor vessel. We employ a hybrid thermal lattice Boltzmann method (HTLBM), which has the advantages of ease of parallelization and ease of handling complex simulation boundaries. For efficient computation and storage of the irregular-shaped simulation domain, we classify the domain into nonempty and empty cells and apply a novel packing technique to organize the nonempty cells. This method is implemented on a GPU cluster for acceleration. We demonstrate the formation of cold-water plumes in the reactor vessel. A set of interactive visualization tools, such as side-view slices, 3D volume rendering, thermal layers rendering, and panorama rendering, are provided to collectively visualize the structure and dynamics of the temperature field in the vessel. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first system that combines 3D simulation and visualization for analyzing thermal shock risk in a pressurized water reactor.
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