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Bindra receives DOE grant to study thermal transport within 3D-printed reactor components

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021

Hitesh Bindra

Hitesh Bindra, Steve Hsu Keystone research scholar and associate professor in mechanical and nuclear engineering at Kansas State University. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — Hitesh Bindra, Steve Hsu keystone research scholar and associate professor in the Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Kansas State University, is receiving a nearly $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study thermal transport in 3D-printed ceramic nuclear reactor core components to help optimize reactor fuel design.

Bindra will lead the two-year project for the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, conducting research on "Experimental thermofluidic validation of TCR fuel elements using distributed temperature and flow sensing," alongside a pair of colleagues from City College of New York and the University of Pittsburgh. Of the total funding, $50,000 was awarded to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The project will use infrared imaging and Bragg-grating sensors to obtain high-fidelity thermal scans of the transformational challenge reactor, or TCR, fuel elements. The measurements will be projected to the rest of the fuel domain with the help of a machine-learning algorithm. The 3D-printed mock ceramic fuel elements will be provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"Advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence are critical for the successful deployment of microreactors and small-modular nuclear reactors," Bindra said. "This project will generate data and algorithms to enable their rapid prototyping."

Written by

Grant Guggisberg