Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Supathorn Phongikaroon


Detailed experimental design to support basic pedagogy of flow regimes – single phase liquid, bubbly, slug, annular, dispersed droplet, and single phase vapor – occurring in flow channels of nuclear reactors has been developed for EGMN 203 - Nuclear Engineering Practicum offering at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. The laboratory instruction will be used to help students forming ideas and understanding flow regimes occurring in nuclear engineering applications. We designed and constructed four water columns to act as surrogates for water channels in a nuclear reactor. Each column was used for a different experiment: salted versus unsalted water, slug flow, and high- speed flow. Compressed air was injected into each system in order to demonstrate these concepts. Students would form a group and record data and photos for different experimental schemes. Preliminary results indicate that it is possible to adequately demonstrate bubbly, slug, plug and churn flow using the designed set up as well as photograph them using cell phone cameras. It is also possible to measure bubble velocities and diameters, as well as estimate bubble population using the provided method through ImageJ software. Churn flow is present in multiple conditions: as a constant flow pattern when air is injected into the system at a specific air pressure, as well as being a secondary flow pattern following the sudden injection of air to produce both slug and plug flows. In the slug and plug flow patterns, this churn flow dissipated upon the air pocket collapse. Both slug and plug flows were produced and volumes were easily able to be estimated using the water level pre-injection and the maximum displaced water height before the eventual pocket collapse, with slug flow water displacements of approximately 4.25” and plug flow water displacements as large as 7” being recorded.


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