Cyclic behavior of ceramic pebble beds under mechanical loading

M. Kamlah, M. Moscardini, R. Knitter, S. Pupeschi, Y. Gan
Fusion Engineering and Design
Ceramic pebble beds, Cyclic loading, Discrete element method, uniaxial compression test, wall effects

Uniaxial compression test (UCT) experiments were conducted along with Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulations. The objective was to investigate the effect of the material properties and of the blanket operational parameters (in terms of packing factor, pebble material/size, compressive load and bed height) on the mechanical response of breeder beds subjected to cyclic loading. UCTs were performed with the EU advanced and reference ceramic breeder materials. To investigate the wall effects on the cyclic response of packed beds, a parametric study was performed varying the bed height to pebble size ratio (H/d). To this end monosized commercial zirconia pebbles with different sizes were also used. The numerical experiments were carried out with the KIT-DEM code on pebble assemblies using mixed boundary conditions (periodic and rigid planes). The influence of the bed height, pebble size and pebble material were systematically evaluated to gain an insight about their influence on the macro and micro response of the beds. Thanks to the microscale numerical modelling the macroscale response is presented together with the micro response at the pebble scale. Good agreement was found between experiments and simulations and thus, the KIT-DEM was confirmed to be a reliable predictive tool for the study breeder bed related problems.

Keywords: Ceramic pebble beds, Wall effects, Discrete element method, Uniaxial compression test, Cyclic loading, 

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