Two Undergraduate Students of the Department of Nuclear Engineering Published in SCI Journal

2018-03-07 Academic

An article co-authored by students Ji-Won Bae (Nuclear Engineering, ‘14) and Won-Ku Kim (Nuclear Engineering, ‘13) was published in Volume 92 (March 2018) of International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer, an SCI journal.

In January 2017, the two students joined the Nuclear Safety Laboratory led by Professor Bum-Jin Chung. At the time, Bae was a senior and Kim a junior. At this lab, about every other week, members convene for an all-hands-on-deck seminar, where in-depth discussions were held to select research topics, review study design and outcome, and to provide paper writing techniques. Last year, two articles written by an undergrad student in this laboratory were accepted for publication in an SCI journal.

Creating opportunities to proactively respond to nuclear power plant incidents
Students Bae and Kim measured the natural convection within a circular tube and developed ways to visualize the resultant state of heat transfer. Their findings were submitted in a paper titled, ‘Visualization of natural convection heat transfer inside an inclined circular pipe.’

Previous studies have focused on visualization of the circumferential and axial flows inside inclined circular pipes; however, this study improves on previous study models by visualizing the associated heat transfer, thereby helping to observe the point of flow separation and expanding the scope of research.

Funded by the Energy R&D Personnel Development Program of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), this research is a pilot study designed to use gas coolant to measure natural convection heat transfer of Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR). VHTR is one of the 4th generation nuclear power generators that uses gas coolants to cool the reactor, recognized for its superior safety.

Plan to advance into graduate program to research safety of nuclear power plants
At the DNE, based on basic knowledge required to understand the principles of nuclear energy, such as radiation, nuclear fission, physics, chemistry and biology, applied knowledge, such as atmospheric and geological features, and environmental and legal studies, necessary for understanding power plant construction and operation, are also learned.

Both authors of the article plan to continue their studies. Beginning in March, Ji-Won Bae will carry out studies as a graduate student. Currently, the focus of Bae’s study examines the feasibility to confine the reactor core inside the nuclear reactor, in case of serious power plant accidents that may cause the reactor core (rod bundle that serves as the reactor fuel) to melt. It is a study that aims to enhance plant safety. Won-Ku Kim, who will be a senior, is studying the visualization of nucleate boiling (a phase change at which bubbles start to form at nucleates sites on a heat surface) on the exterior surface of a circular pipe.

Professor Bum-Jin Chung touts, “It is the technology accumulated in the lab that makes undergraduate experiments possible. Weekly seminars are critical to ensuring the thoroughness of research design and implementation.” Chung adds, “Once the Independent Learning & Research (IL&R) program takes root, I look forward to even better conditions for undergraduate research.”

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