pressures above the critical pressure of water, which is 22.064 MPa. From a thermodynamics perspective, it iswell known that higher thermal efficiencies correspond to higher temperatures and pressures. Therefore, usuallysubcritical-pressure plants have thermal efficiencies of about 34
38% and modern supercritical-pressure plantsof about 43
50%, or even slightly higher. Steam-generators outlet temperatures or steam-turbine inlettemperatures have reached the level of about 625°C (and even higher) at pressures of 25
38) MPa.However, the common level is about 535
585°C at pressures of 23.5
25 MPa. Using supercritical water-steam at coal-fired thermal-power plants is the largest application of supercritical fluids in the power industry.However, in spite of advances in coal-fired power-plant design and operation worldwide, they are still notconsidered to be environmental friendly due to the production of carbon-dioxide emissions, as a result of thecombustion process, plus production of ash, slag and even acid rain.
FUTURE APPLICATIONS OF SUPERCRITICAL-PRESSURE FLUIDS IN NUCLEAR POWERPLANTS
Nuclear power, as coal and other fossil fuels, is a non-renewable resource. However, nuclear resources can beused for significantly longer time period when compared to some fossil fuels, plus nuclear power does not emitcarbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Currently, this source of energy is considered the most viable option of electrical generation for the next 50
100 years.Current nuclear reactors, i.e., Generation II and III, consist of water-cooled reactor Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs)with a thermal efficiency of 30
35% (vast majority of reactors); carbon-dioxide-cooled reactor NPPs with athermal efficiency up to 42% and liquid-sodium-cooled reactor NPPs with a thermal efficiency up to 40%.Within the next 5
25 years, Generation III+ (2010
2025) reactors with improved parameters (water-cooledNPPs with a thermal efficiency up to 38%) will be implemented. However, these reactors will have onlyevolutionary design improvements. Therefore, the next generation or Generation IV (2025 -
…) reactors with
new parameters (NPPs with the thermal efficiency of 43
50% and even higher for all types of reactors) arecurrently under development worldwide.The supercritical-steam Rankine cycle is very efficient and is the only proven cycle for water-cooled thermalpower plants. Therefore, this cycle can be used in SuperCritical Water-cooled Nuclear Power Plants (SCWNPPs) (Figure 2). The main objectives of using supercritical water in nuclear reactors are: 1) to increase theefficiency of modern NPPs, which is currently 30
35% to approximately 43
50%, and 2) to decrease theoperational and capital costs by eliminating steam generators, steam separators, steam dryers, etc. Currently,SuperCritical Water-cooled nuclear Reactor (SCWR) concepts are one of six conceptual options included in thenext generation or Generation IV nuclear systems . Moreover, due to various problems with other GenerationIV concepts, this cycle can be connected to any of the Generation IV reactors through their heat exchangers.In addition, the supercritical carbon-dioxide Brayton gas-turbine cycle is also considered for implementation inGeneration IV nuclear-reactor concepts, such as for Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFRs), Lead-cooled FastReactors (LFRs) (Figure 3) and High Temperature helium-cooled thermal Reactors (HTRs).Therefore, knowledge of thermophysical-properties specifics at critical and supercritical pressures is veryimportant for the safe and efficient use of fluids in various industries.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS AND EXPRESSIONS RELATED TO CRITICAL AND SUPERCRITICALREGIONS
Prior to a general discussion on specifics of thermophysical properties and forced-convective heat transfer atcritical and supercritical pressures, it is important to define special terms and expressions used at theseconditions. For a better understanding of these terms and expressions their definitions are listed below togetherwith corresponding Figures 4 and 5 (for further details, see ).
is a fluid at a pressure above the critical pressure, but at a temperature below the criticaltemperature.
(also called a
) is a point in which the distinction between the liquid and gas (orvapour) phases disappears, i.e., both phases have the same temperature, pressure and volume or density. The
is characterized by the phase-state parameters
), which have unique values foreach pure substance.
Deteriorated Heat Transfer (DHT)
is characterized with lower values of the wall heat transfer coefficientcompared to those for normal heat transfer; and hence, has higher values of wall temperature within some part of a test section or within the entire test section.