|Michael K. Meeks|
Research Assistant/Master's Candidate
Michael K. Meeks is an Ensign in the U.S. Navy who is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate study before continuing in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion officer training pipeline at the Nuclear Power School (NPS), a Nuclear Prototype Training Unit (NPTU), Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC), and on to a career as a submarine officer.
Current research includes the study of Fuel-Coolant Interactions (FCI) and vapor explosion phenomena as related to fission reactor safety studies. An FCI event is simulated by gently pooling hot water onto a layer of liquid refrigerant (currently R134a), thus creating the conditions necessary for a stratified vapor explosion. Studies have shown that the damaging effects of a vapor explosion may be suppressed through gas injection (currently air), thereby increasing the void fraction through the variation of the volumetric flowrate and the geometry of the air injectors. Experiments are being conducted in both large-scale and small-scale geometries, with and without gas injection, to study suppression and scaling effects.
Future research may involve using a laser/light extinction technique to measure the instantaneous void fraction propogation during the low-temperature FCI simulations. Further experiments may substitute the injection of ammonia gas in place of air, to study the effects of exothermic chemical reactions on the void fraction propogation and the suppression of the FCI. These experiments are also applicable to a toxic-waste treatment technique developed by Molten Metal Corporation (MMT), which is supporting this research. [an error occurred while processing this directive]