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Mahendra Prasad1*, Arunkumar Sridharan2, Avinash
1Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai, India
2Indian Institute of Bombay, Mumbai, India
This paper presents the two-dimensional computational
fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations carried for 90degree bend circular pipe to estimate spatial mass
transfer coefficients. The turbulent model k- with
shear stress transport (SST) was considered for the
analysis since it is found to perform well for domain
with geometric changes. The mass transfer boundary
layer (MTBL) thickness mtbl is related to the Schmidt
number (Sc) as mtbl ~ h/(Sc1/3) where h is the
hydrodynamic boundary layer thickness. Uniform
velocity as boundary condition was considered at the
inlet. The pipe length considered from inlet section to
the start of bend was more than the hydrodynamic
entrance length based on Reynolds number. Acetone
was considered as solute (specie) with water as solvent.
The temperature of the mixture of water and acetone
was taken as 300 K. The wall specie mass fraction as a
value of 1 was considered as an input boundary
condition at wall. The mass transfer coefficient at the
wall is determined as ratio of the change in specie
fraction from wall to first node in the simulation and
the distance of first node from the wall with an
appropriate multiplying factor as diffusion coefficient
of acetone. The bulk concentration of the acetone was
found to be negligible. It is observed that mass transfer
coefficient increases during the few degrees of travel in
the bend at intrados. Then it is decreases with further
angular travel. In the extrados the mass transfer
coefficient ratio increases, then it is decreasing and
again increases at the exit of bend. For distances upto
few diameters of the pipe, the mass transfer coefficient
increases from its value for straight pipe having fully
developed turbulent flow.
Keywords: Mixing length, Flow Accelerated Corrosion,
Sherwood number, Power law velocity profile

Corrosion is the degradation of a material by means of
chemical reactions with the environment. 2 There are
different types of corrosion such as galvanic corrosion,
erosion corrosion, and pitting corrosion. However, an
unusual form of corrosion named flow-accelerated
corrosion (FAC) is of concern in pipes with bends at
different angles and carrying large mass flow rate of
water or water/steam two-phase mixture. Although
FAC can occur in many different metals, it has been of

most concern in carbon steel pipes in nuclear power

plants. In carbon steel pipes carrying water, oxide layer
is formed at the inner surface. This form of corrosion
has plagued nuclear and fossil power plants for many
years. FAC results in thinning of piping, vessels, andequipment from the inside hence it cannot be detected
except by special means. In pipes carrying dry or
superheated steam, FAC does not occur because water
is necessary to remove oxide layer. FAC of carbon steel
is a common problem in many types of steam
producing plants (Two-phase FAC has been recognized
as a world-wide problem since about 1970. Since the
mid-1980s, single-phase FAC has been acknowledged
as a major problem in the balance-of-plant and
secondary piping of U.S. and foreign nuclear and fossil
plants [1, 2]. In fossil plants also FAC has occurred
with considerable impact [3].
Flow-accelerated corrosion is a process whereby the
normally protective oxide layer on carbon or low-alloy
steel dissolves into a stream of flowing water or a
water-steam mixture. With passage of time the oxide
layer becomes thinner and less protective and the
corrosion rate increases. The corrosion rates can
become stable if the corrosion and dissolution rates are
equal. This may happen if the equilibrium of operating
parameters is maintained for pipe system in a power
plant. The local corrosion may be pronounced enough
to expose the bare metal. In FAC there is general
reduction of the wall thickness in straight section and
bends of piping system. This is essentially different
from pitting or cracking which are local phenomena. In
straight pipe devoid of weldments (which create a flow
obstruction on inner surface) the corrosion is usually
uniform however for bends the pipe thickness
reduction is very non-uniform and depends on bend
type. FAC is more significant in the some sections of
pipes, which experience increased turbulence due to
geometry changes. This condition is favourable at pipe
bends at various angles, helical coil, downstream of
welds and valves that have sharp changes in geometry
among wide possibilities of other geometries. Thinned
components can overstress from operating pressure or
abrupt changes in conditions such as water hammer
and start-up loading leading to their rupture. Most
failures due FAC have occurred due to such
geometrical singularities.
Accidents due to FAC have occurred in conventional
power plants and NPPs. These have occurred mostly in
the secondary side (steam- generator turbine) side of
the plants. The events had led to an interest in
experimental work to understand mechanism and
prediction of FAC. Since 1970s, studies have been
carried out on FAC mechanism and prediction mainly
in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. These
were laboratory research and attempted to correlate the

laboratory results with plant experience. The laboratory

work concentrated on developing an understanding of
the mechanism of flow- accelerated corrosion. This
effort enabled the researchers to describe the
fundamental nature of corrosion process and governing
factors such as pH, temperature, mass transfer, alloy
composition, and dissolved oxygen. One of the major
accidents due to FAC occurred at Surry Power Plant
(US) in 3 1986 [2]. An 8-inch elbow in the condensate
system Unit 2 ruptured during a plant transient. The
inspections of Units 1 and 2 piping had revealed
widespread degradation due to FAC.
Another accident in US at Trojan NPP [2] occurred
where in the heater pump discharge carbon steel pipe
ruptured when a pressure surge occurred due to turbine
trip. The ruptured portion of the piping section had
been eroded from a nominal thickness of 9.5 cm to
about 25 mm (0.375 to about 0.098 inches). The
Mihama-3 PWR accident in 2004 also resulted in
fatalities. The FAC induced failure was in feed water
line of the plant [5].
In Canada, CANDU NPPs have experienced FAC in
the primary and secondary side. The primary systems
of the NPPs have a pressure tube design with heavy
water as coolant and moderator. Except for the pressure
tubes, and the steam generator tubes, the system is
largely made of carbon steel. At the outlet of each
pressure tube, there are several fittings and pipes
leading up to the outlet header. These fittings have
experienced FAC in several CANDU plants [3].
Among various on-going degradation mechanisms,
pipe wall thinning due to Flow Accelerated Corrosion
(FAC) and cracking due to Intergranular Stress
Corrosion Cracking (IGSCC) and potentially Low
Temperature Creep Cracking (LTCC) have been
identified as major degradations that may affect the
operating life of the feeder pipes [9]. The Indian
xperience in NPPs vis--vis FAC has been described in
detail with failure analysis [7,8]. The downstream of an
orifice flow meter in the secondary feed water line of a
PHWR cracked due to FAC.
FAC rate estimations models have been developed [6].
The most commonly applied model is a Sanchez
Caldera model [7, 8]. This model assumes a three-step
process for ferrous ion generation, transfer through
porous layer and dissolution through convection in
bulk fluid. The overall ferrous ion loss from metal
surface is given by
= .1 + 1f [+1] (1)
The porosity of oxide layer is . Porosity has a direct
relation to metal loss because as porosity increase the
transfer of ferrous ions is easier from metal oxide
interface to oxide fluid interface. High temperature
makes oxide less porous. The oxide thickness varies in
actively eroding sites in the range of 1 to 40
micrometres. Typical values used have been 10

The assumption of constant FAC rate as in Equation

(1) is not realistic. The mass transfer coefficient is
strongly dependent on the local turbulence structure
and this is more significant when non-uniform material
loss due to geometrical dependency distorts the surface
profile. This would happen in bends, orifices,
expanders, reducers, helical coils etc. It has been
observed that in the pipe bends material removal rate is
Sanchez had used the temperature dependence of
porosity. The porosity decreases with temperature for
temperatures above 150oC and becomes constant
beyond 300oC. The probable mechanism is an inter
pore chemical reaction.
The diffusion coefficient for ferrous ion is a function of
temperature and viscosity of the fluid carrying the ion.
This coefficient for ferrous ion is given by the
Equation 2.
=1.04107/ (2) 4 where is temperature (in
Kelvin scale) and is fluid viscosity (kg/m2-s).
The reaction rate constant is denoted by , which is
assumed to follow Arrhenius law, is given by,
= / (3)
The constants (pre-exponential factor) and were
determined by Sanchez by fitting the FAC model to the
data for pipe wall thinning from experiments. In
equation (3), is temperature(Kelvin scale) and is
the molecular gas constant. The best-fit equation was
given as
=8.451017 17869 (4)
The fraction represents the fraction of ferrous ions
produced at the metal-metal oxide interface that are
available for diffusing to outer layer and eventually
into fluid flow.In the study by Sanchez it was shown
that the empirical relation for reaction rate constant is
not sensitive to the value of .
The intent of this work is to calculate the change in
mass transfer coefficient at the intardos and extrados
locations of 90obend pipe. The MTC at the intrados and
extrados changes, monotonically neither increasing nor
decreasing throughout the bend region, compared to
straight pipe. This is because the fully developed
turbulent flow is disturbed on entering the bend and
velocity gradients change at each location in bend.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code was used
to quantify changes in MTC.
The RANS equations for continuity and momentum in
Cartesian tensor form are given in Equation 5 and 6.
+ ()=0 (5)
() + ()=+ +
23 + ( )
The term is the Reynolds shear stress and needs
to be modelled, which is carried out with Boussines
approximation. = + 23

where, is the turbulent kinetic energy and is

turbulent viscosity.
In the CFD analysis, k- shear stress transport (SST)
model was used for the computation. The - SST
model differs from the standard - model in
following ways:
i) The standard - model and the - model are
multiplied with blending function and added to
simulate the near wall region of flow with - model
where the blending function approaches unity and far
away from wall the flow is simulated 5

by - model whre blending function approaches a

value of zero.
ii) Turbulent viscosity and model constant have
different values for the standard - and - SST
The additional turbulent kinetic energy and specific
dissipation rate equations are given in Equation 7 and
()+ ()= + (7)
()()= + (8)
In equations 7 and 8, and are the effective
diffusivity for and respectively. The generation
and dissipation terms are indicated by letters and
as relevant to and .
Fig. 1: Piping Layout (90o) bend)
Fig. 1 shows the piping layout for the 90 o degree bend.
The bend radius is considered as 2D where D is the

internal diameter of pipe. The velocity profile at the

inlet is assumed uniform. The hydrodynamic entrance
length is calculated as = 1.359()0.25
The internal diameter of pipe is 0.02 meters. The
entrance length is estimated to be around 19.2 D and
length of the inlet section (inlet to start of bend) was
taken as 100D. The length of the inlet section is chosen
sufficiently long for the fully developed turbulent flow
is obtained at the inlet to the bend section. Figure 2
shows the meshing at the boundary and interior zone of
the bend section.
Fig. 2: Meshing of 90o Degree Bend Section
Fig.3 shows the velocity contour in bend section and
Fig. 4 shows the velocity vectors.
Fig. 3: Velocity Contour in Bend Section
Fig. 4: Velocity vectors in Bend Section
Fig. 5 to 12 shows the radial velocity profile at various
locations in the pipe. Curve length 0.0 6

corresponds to the extrados (outer bend radius) and 0.02 corresponds to the inner bend radius, the internal
diameter of pipe as 0.02 m. The velocity profile at a distance of 10D to bend has a fully developed turbulent
velocity profile. At the entry to the bend the velocity profile is distorted with higher velocity occurring closer to
the intrados and lower velocity at the extrados. However, the distortion is not significant. When the fluid travels
farther into the bend, the velocity profile becomes highly unsymmetrical. At exit from bend the radial velocity
profile distortion decreases and at around 4.5D from bend exit it is close to fully developed turbulent profile. The
fluid is accelerated in the intrados region and decelerated in the extrados region of bend which gives the distorted
velocity profiles.
Fig. 5: Velocity Profile at 10D from inlet to bend
Fig. 6: Velocity profile at inlet to bend
Fig. 7: Velocity profile at 18o into bend
Fig. 8: Velocity profile at 30o into bend
Fig. 9: Velocity profile at 90o into bend
Fig. 10: Velocity profile at 1.5D from bend exit 7

Ratiio Kb/Ks
Distance along the Bend (inlet to outlet)

Fig. 11: Velocity profile at 2D from bend exit

Fig. 12: Velocity profile at 4.5D from bend exit
SIMPLE algorithm was used to model pressure velocity coupling. First order discretization was followed for
pressure, momentum, turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent dissipation equations. The residual was set at
1106 for all the parameters. The local mass transfer coefficient was computed as = =0
= ( 1)( ) (9)
Where concentration of solute is and bulk concentration of solute . 1 is the concentration at the first node
from the wall. The grid size is given by .
Equation (9) was used to calculate mass transfer coefficient at 15 angular locations into the bend (6 o increments)
and at various distances from exit of bend (Fig. 10, 11, 12 show three locations) for intrados and extrados. Fig. 13
shows the ratio of the MTC in the intrados and extrados with respect to the MTC for straight pipe. The results
indicate that the MTC increases in the intrados region at the inlet to bend, slowly decreases, and reaches the
straight pipe values. The mass flux is more in the intrados region in the inlet to bend till few degrees of travel as is
seen from the velocity profiles. This is consistent with the observations of higher corrosion rate in intrados of the
bend towards the inlet. The corrosion rate is lower in the extrados initially at the inlet; however it increases with
the shift of mass flux towards the exit of bend in the extrados region. The highest value of relative MTC is 1.6 at
the intrados. This study was repeated with second order discretization for governing equations. However, the
difference in relative MTC changes was not significant. Also, study was performed with change of turbulence
model standard k- with enhanced wall treatment and k- RNG enhanced wall treatment, however the differences
in relative MTC change from the base code run with - SST was not significant.
Fig. 13: Relative MTC at Intrados and Extrados 8

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Reaction Rate Constant
Mass Transfer Coefficient
Equilibrium Concentration of Ferrous Ion
Bulk Concentration of Ferrous ion
Porosity of oxide layer
Fraction of Ferrous Ion which Diffuse to outer layer
Oxide thickness
Turbulent Kinetic Energy
Specific Dissipation Rate