Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

D. Keith Hollingsworth

Committee Member

Dale Thomas

Committee Member

George Nelson


Nuclear propulsion--Models, Nuclear reactors--Thermodynamics


A numerical model was developed to study the heat transfer within the reactor of a Centrifugal Nuclear Thermal Propulsion system wherein liquid uranium heats hydrogen gas via direct-contact heat transfer. This one-dimensional, steady-state model treats the liquid uranium annulus of the centrifugal reactor as a conducting solid with internal energy generation and includes models of convection on the outside of the reactor, nonuniform energy generation from a detailed neutronics calculation, and models of bubble velocity and heat transfer. Results for three annulus geometries were compared for a variety of run conditions with the goal of maximizing the propellant output temperature within constraints on wall temperature and void fraction. Temperatures of approximately 3800 ๐พ can be achieved with wall temperatures of roughly 1500 ๐พ, while wall temperatures of roughly 2500 ๐พ are required to achieve core temperatures on the order of 5000 ๐พ.



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