Computational modelling of the HyperVapotron cooling technique

Joseph Milnes, Alan Burns, Dimitris Drikakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficient heat transfer technologies are essential for magnetically confined fusion reactors; this applies to both the current generation of experimental reactors as well as future power plants. A number of High Heat Flux devices have therefore been developed specifically for this application. One of the most promising candidates is the HyperVapotron, a water cooled device which relies on internal fins and boiling heat transfer to maximise the heat transfer capability. Over the past 30 years, numerous variations of the HyperVapotron have been built and tested at fusion research centres around the globe resulting in devices that can now sustain heat fluxes in the region of 20-30 MW/m 2 in steady state. Until recently, there had been few attempts to model or understand the internal heat transfer mechanisms responsible for this exceptional performance with the result that design improvements have been traditionally sought experimentally which is both inefficient and costly. This paper presents the successful attempt to develop an engineering model of the HyperVapotron device using customisation of commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics software. To establish the most appropriate modelling choices, in-depth studies were performed examining the turbulence models (within the Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes framework), near wall methods, grid resolution and boiling submodels. Comparing the CFD solutions with HyperVapotron experimental data suggests that a RANS-based, multiphase model is indeed capable of predicting performance over a wide range of geometries and boundary conditions if suitable sub-models are developed. Whilst a definitive set of design improvements is not defined here, it is expected that the methodologies and tools developed will enable designers of future High Heat Flux devices to perform significant virtual prototyping before embarking on the more costly build and test programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1647-1661
Number of pages15
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • Boiling
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Heat transfer
  • High Heat Flux
  • HyperVapotron
  • Multiphase
  • Turbulence


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