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Spectroscopic, pressure and temperature measurements of the reactant mixing process in sodium-water reaction

Abstract : The reaction of sodium metal with water is a heterogeneous, exothermic reaction known to be prone to runaway with explosive effects when uncontrolled. The occurrence of runaways requires the reactants to be effectively mixed which is not the case initially for sodium and water. The latter are put in contact in two distinct, condensed phases, that are moreover rapidly separated by a gaseous film generated by the reaction itself. The runaway is triggered by a reactant mixing process that is not elucidated. This mixing could occur either in liquid or gas-phase. In this paper, we investigate the mixing process of sodium-water reaction in the small scale configuration of 1-4g sodium pellets with excess water in a closed vessel, using time-resolved video, optical, pressure and temperature acquisitions. The results show that sodium vaporization is implicated in the reaction and that it is generated in great quantity during runaway. However it appears from temperature measurements that boiling temperature is not reached in the sodium before runaway or only locally. It is therefore possible that reactant mixing occurs in the gas phase if an intensification of sodium vaporization takes place as a fast local transient. The possibility of reactant mixing in liquid phase is not contradicted by these results but was not identified from the available videos and data.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 9:07:08 AM
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Lucas David, Mirjana Milanovic, Philippe Hervé, Yannick Bailly, David Ramel, et al.. Spectroscopic, pressure and temperature measurements of the reactant mixing process in sodium-water reaction. Nuclear Engineering and Design, Elsevier, 2020, 364, pp.110638. ⟨10.1016/j.nucengdes.2020.110638⟩. ⟨cea-02573019⟩



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