Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, South Africa, 1-4 July, 2007.
The reactor pressure vessel is a cylindrical shell structure which contains a rather large amount of liquid and many structures. Therefore, the fluid-structure interaction problems and the free oscillation of an incompressible liquid have attracted the attention because during a postulated earthquake (e.g. Design Basis Earthquake) the primary coolant surrounding the internals is accelerated and a significant fluid-structure hydrodynamic interaction is induced: in particular, the so called coolant “sloshing” influence on the stress level in the RPV. This effect is mainly important in the case of liquid metal primary coolant case and its coupling with the reactor vessel and its internals are considered. Numerical modelling proved to be very useful for the foreseen structures analysis because neither linear nor second-order potential theory is directly applicable when steep waves are present and high-order effects are significant. In what follow numerical results are presented and discussed highlighting the importance of the fluid-structure interaction effects in terms of stress intensity and were also used in order to obtain a preliminary validation of the numerical approach/models in comparison with experimental data.