An analytical model of heat transfer and fluid dynamic performances of anunconventional NTR engine for manned interplanetary missions

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    An analytical model of fluid flow and heat transfer of a Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) engine concept ispresented. The engine is based on the direct conversion of the kinetic energy of the fission fragments (FFs)into the propellant enthalpy. The FFs can escape from an extremely thin layer of fissionable material:a sufficiently large surface coated with few micrometers of Americium 242m, confined by a neutronmoderator–reflector, may become a critical reactor.Three dimensional coupled CFD-Monte Carlo simulations have already been presented in Di Piazzaand Mulas (2006). In this paper, an analytical integral 1-D model of fluid dynamics and heat transfer isbuilt in order to foresee the performances on the basis of simple, physically founded correlations. ThePeclet number has been identified as the main governing parameter of the system, and theoretically basedcorrelations have been found for the thermodynamic efficiency of the engine and for the specific impulse.The correlations show a good agreement with numerical results presented in Di Piazza and Mulas (2006)from fully coupled 3D CFD-Monte Carlo calculations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3171-3177
    Number of pages7
    JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
    Volume239
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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