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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 458190, 12 pages
Research Article

Numerical Simulation of Particle Flow Motion in a Two-Dimensional Modular Pebble-Bed Reactor with Discrete Element Method

1School of Energy Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China
2China Institute of Atomic Energy, Beijing 102413, China

Received 30 May 2013; Revised 22 August 2013; Accepted 10 September 2013

Academic Editor: Giorgio Galassi

Copyright © 2013 Guodong Liu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Modular pebble-bed nuclear reactor (MPBNR) technology is promising due to its attractive features such as high fuel performance and inherent safety. Particle motion of fuel and graphite pebbles is highly associated with the performance of pebbled-bed modular nuclear reactor. To understand the mechanism of pebble’s motion in the reactor, we numerically studied the influence of number ratio of fuel and graphite pebbles, funnel angle of the reactor, height of guide ring on the distribution of pebble position, and velocity by means of discrete element method (DEM) in a two-dimensional MPBNR. Velocity distributions at different areas of the reactor as well as mixing characteristics of fuel and graphite pebbles were investigated. Both fuel and graphite pebbles moved downward, and a uniform motion was formed in the column zone, while pebbles motion in the cone zone was accelerated due to the decrease of the cross sectional flow area. The number ratio of fuel and graphite pebbles and the height of guide ring had a minor influence on the velocity distribution of pebbles, while the variation of funnel angle had an obvious impact on the velocity distribution. Simulated results agreed well with the work in the literature.