Nuclear Techniques ›› 2020, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (10): 100601-100601.doi: 10.11889/j.0253-3219.2020.hjs.43.100601

• NUCLEAR ENERGY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Design and numerical simulation of Stirling heater for molten salt space reactor

Heng ZHAO1,2,3,Yang ZOU1(),Ye DAI1,Hongjie XU1,Jie ZHANG1,Fan HE1,2   

  1. 1.Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China
    2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3.ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai 201210, China
  • Received:2020-01-20 Revised:2020-04-20 Online:2020-10-15 Published:2020-10-14
  • Contact: Yang ZOU
  • About author:ZHAO Heng, male, born in 1994, graduated from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2016, master student, focusing on the field of reactor thermal hydraulic engineering
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA02010000);Thorium Uranium Fuel Cycle Characteristics and Key Problem Research Project(QYZDY-SSW-JSC016)

Abstract: Background

Stirling heater is used for heat capture in the molten salt space reactor power generating system, and its heat transfer performance has a great influence on the output power and efficiency of the space reactor energy conversion system.


This study aims to improve the heat transfer performance of the heater by numerical simulation of designed fins in molten salt channel and porous Stirling internal thermal receiver.


The computational fluid dynamics program Fluent was employed to design and optimize the structure of the heater. Thermal-hydraulic characteristics of different fins and molten salt channel types, such as flow field, pressure field and heat flux distribution were simulated and compared.


Adding fins in the molten salt channel can improve the heat transfer performance of the Stirling heater, and with the increase of fin height and the decrease of fin spacing, the heat transfer performance further improves. Compared with radial inlet and tangential inlet, the double-radial inlet and outlet channels have more uniform heat flux distribution and better heat transfer performance.


The results of this study provide useful references for the design of the Stirling heater in molten salt space reactor.

Key words: Stirling heater, Structure design, Numerical simulation, Heat transfer performance

CLC Number: 

  • TL33