Research Papers

Predicting Leak Rate Through Valve Stem Packing in Nuclear Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Ali Salah Omar Aweimer

Ecole de Technologie Superieure,
1100 Notre-Dame Ouest,
Montreal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
e-mail: ali-salah-omar.aweimer.1@ens.etsmtl.ca

Abdel-Hakim Bouzid

Fellow ASME
Ecole de Technologie Superieure,
1100 Notre-Dame Ouest,
Montreal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
e-mail: hakim.bouzid@etsmtl.ca

Mehdi Kazeminia

Ecole de Technologie Superieure,
1100 Notre-Dame Ouest,
Montreal, QC H3C 1K3, Canada
e-mail: mehdi.kazeminia.1@ens.etsmtl.ca

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 8, 2017; final manuscript received May 30, 2018; published online January 24, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Robert Stakenborghs.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 5(1), 011009 (Jan 24, 2019) (7 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1113; doi: 10.1115/1.4040493 History: Received September 08, 2017; Revised May 30, 2018

Leaking valves have forced shutdown in many nuclear power plants. The myth of zero leakage or adequate sealing must give way to more realistic maximum leak rate criterion in design of nuclear bolted flange joints and valve packed stuffing boxes. It is well established that the predicting leakage in these pressure vessel components is a major engineering challenge to designers. This is particularly true in nuclear valves due to different working conditions and material variations. The prediction of the leak rate through packing rings is not a straightforward task to achieve. This work presents a study on the ability of microchannel flow models to predict leak rates through packing rings made of flexible graphite. A methodology based on experimental characterization of packing material porosity parameters is developed to predict leak rates at different compression stress levels. Three different models are compared to predict leakage; the diffusive and second-order flow models are derived from Naiver–Stokes equations and incorporate the boundary conditions of an intermediate flow regime to cover the wide range of leak rate levels and the lattice model is based on porous media of packing rings as packing bed (Dp). The flow porosity parameters (N,R) of the microchannels assumed to simulate the leak paths present in the packing are obtained experimentally. The predicted leak rates from different gases (He,N2,andAr) are compared to those measured experimentally in which the set of packing rings is mainly subjected to different gland stresses and pressures.

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Fig. 1

Capillary model with second-order slip flow

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Fig. 2

General configuration of the test bench for leak detection test

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Fig. 3

Measured leak rates using helium

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Fig. 4

Porosity parameter NR4 for second-order and diffusivity models

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Fig. 5

Average sphere diameter Dp and porosity ε

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Fig. 6

Ergun pore size versus pressure at different stress levels

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Fig. 7

Comparison of leak rates of Nitrogen at 7 and 14 MPa gland stress

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Fig. 8

Comparison of leak rates of Nitrogen at 28 and 41 MPa gland stress

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Fig. 9

Comparison of leak rates of Argon at 7 and 14 MPa gland stress

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Fig. 10

Comparison of leak rates for Argon at 28 and 41 MPa gland stress



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