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Development of a Numerical Multi-Physics Method to Analyze the Vibration Characteristics of Rotating Components in Liquid Metal

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MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications) is a flexible fast-spectrum research reactor under design at SCK CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre. MYRRHA is a pool-type reactor with Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) as the primary coolant. In such a reactor, the pumps are essential for the flow of the liquid metal under normal conditions.

Pumping a high-density liquid metal like LBE forces us to reconsider everything we know from pumping water. For what concerns vibrations, the fluid forces on the rotating components such as the blades and shaft are an order of magnitude larger in LBE than in a pump for water at the same flow velocity due to the difference in density. Also the natural frequencies and other vibration characteristics of the rotating components will deviate significantly due to the added-mass, damping and stiffness effect by the LBE. Currently, a scientific study of a liquid metal’s influence on the vibration characteristics of rotating components is missing. As the existing literature does not indicate that the knowledge taken from conventional fluids can be transferred to systems operated in LBE or another liquid metal, a scientific study of this influence is necessary. However, numerical methods to perform such an analysis are not readily available.

Therefore, a numerical multi-physics method will be developed to analyze the vibration characteristics of rotating components in liquid metal. This new numerical method will be developed starting from methods developed for tube bundles in liquid metal. This method will be generally applicable to various rotating components. In particular, it will be applied to the blades and shaft of the high-performance semi-axial pump that has been designed for MYRRHA. Validation of the novel technique will be performed using experimental data from the literature. In addition, there is a non-blocking opportunity to interact with experimental programs at SCK-CEN, by providing data that is hard to measure in the experiments or receiving extra validation data from the experiments.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

  • Master of sciences in engineering

The candidate needs to have a background in

  • Electromechanics

Estimated duration

4 years

Expert group

LBE Components and Experiments

SCK CEN Mentor

Iarmonov Mikhail
miarmono [at]
+32 (0)14 33 80 14

SCK CEN Co-mentor

Makhov Kirill
kmakhov [at]
+32 (0)14 33 34 87


Degroote Joris
Joris.Degroote [at]