Spatial homogenization methods for pin -by -pin neutron transport calculations

Tomasz Kozlowski, Purdue University


For practical reactor core applications low-order transport approximations such as SP3 have been shown to provide sufficient accuracy for both static and transient calculations with considerably less computational expense than the discrete ordinate or the full spherical harmonics methods. These methods have been applied in several core simulators where homogenization was performed at the level of the pin cell. One of the principal problems has been to recover the error introduced by pin-cell homogenization. Two basic approaches to treat pin-cell homogenization error have been proposed: Superhomogenization (SPH) factors and Pin-Cell Discontinuity Factors (PDF). These methods are based on well established Equivalence Theory and Generalized Equivalence Theory to generate appropriate group constants. These methods are able to treat all sources of error together, allowing even few-group diffusion with one mesh per cell to reproduce the reference solution. A detailed investigation and consistent comparison of both homogenization techniques showed potential of PDF approach to improve accuracy of core calculation, but also reveal its limitation. In principle, the method is applicable only for the boundary conditions at which it was created, i.e. for boundary conditions considered during the homogenization process---normally zero current. Therefore, there exists a need to improve this method, making it more general and environment independent. The goal of proposed general homogenization technique is to create a function that is able to correctly predict the appropriate correction factor with only homogeneous information available, i.e. a function based on heterogeneous solution that could approximate PDFs using homogeneous solution. It has been shown that the PDF can be well approximated by least-square polynomial fit of non-dimensional heterogeneous solution and later used for PDF prediction using homogeneous solution. This shows a promise for PDF prediction for off-reference conditions, such as during reactor transients which provide conditions that can not typically be anticipated a priori.




Downar, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Nuclear physics

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