Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
D. Keith Hollingsworth
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 𝐾 can be achieved with wall temperatures of roughly 1500 𝐾, while wall temperatures of roughly 2500 𝐾 are required to achieve core temperatures on the order of 5000 𝐾.
Keese, Jacob T., "Thermal model of a centrifugal nuclear thermal propulsion system" (2022). Theses. 386.