Investigation on Heat Transfer Behaviour of Molten Salt Natural Circulation Loop using Numerical Simulations
Molten salts are used as a coolant/heat transfer fluid in various high temperature engineering systems owing to their high boiling point at low pressure. Natural circulation of molten salt is being preferred in some systems like solar thermal power plant or in some nuclear reactors. Such systems can be studied with the help of a natural circulation loop. In this work, heat transfer characteristics of Molten Salt Natural Circulation Loop (MSNCL) are studied using 3D CFD simulations. Molten Nitrate salt, NaNO3+KNO3 (60:40 ratio by weight), is used as a fluid in MSNCL. In the MSNCL, in heater section, flow is developing and also mixed convection flow regime exists. The local Nusselt number variation in heater is calculated from computed data and is compared with that from Boelter correlation. Steady state heat transfer characteristics are obtained over a wide range of Reynolds number using CFD simulations. Unsteady heat transfer characteristics in the oscillatory flow formed in MSNCL with horizontal heater configuration are also studied and are found to be different as compared to vertical heater placed in vertical heater horizontal cooler configuration.