GUI Development and Workflow Management for CFD/SAS Coupling

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 03/11/2018


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Illinoisrocstar LLC
1800 S. Oak St. Suite 108
Champaign, IL 61820
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Sodium-cooled fast reactor designs must be shown to be safe under adverse conditions such as station blackouts, where operators rely on natural circulation for core cooling. The low coolant flow rates during these transients can result in thermal stratification where cooler, denser fluid collects near the bottom of the system, affecting temperature distributions and therefore coolant effectiveness. Sodium-cooled fast reactors are traditionally modeled with system- level software, which are incapable of simulating multi-dimensional phenomena such as thermal stratification. Through collaboration with established experts, advanced coupling methods will be developed focused on combining engineering scale and high resolution software. The coupling methods will be designed for maximum stability and efficiency by leveraging extensive existing coupling experience. For example, the domain overlapping coupling paradigm has been shown to increase coupled simulation efficiency. Additionally, the coupling process will be made more accessible through a workflow management tool to be developed as a module for widely-used existing software. All necessary software packages will first be acquired. After gaining experience with the packages, a prototypical coupling between system-level and high fidelity software will be created. The knowledge gained in Phase I will be used to design an advanced coupling approach, potentially based on domain overlapping principles. Collaboration will occur towards developing a comprehensive requirements document to ensure that the Phase II effort will support all necessary features. A prototypical interface module for widely-used existing software will be developed. The proposed work will produce a proprietary interface module for existing system level software that will be very useful to new users of the code as a graphical user interface, though it may have limited commercial value. However, the interface will serve as an entry point into the multiphysics coupled code sector of the nuclear engineering modeling and simulation community. The advanced coupling methods produced by this work will have applications beyond sodium-cooled fast reactor analysis including light water reactors, where there is substantial commercial value. Additionally, the exposure enabled by the interface will enable interaction with industry members towards performing coupled calculations as engineering services.