Nuclear Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-1-2018


The fluoride salt cooled high temperature reactor (FHR) is a Generation IV advanced reactor design that has potential to produce efficient, low carbon, and safe energy. But, there are significant engineering challenges that need to be addressed before the deployment of this reactor. One of the key challenges is tritium release mitigation and sequestration. Because the FHR utilizes a eutectic LiF-BeF2 (flibe) salt as a coolant, the coolant is a significant source of tritium.

High-power ultrasonics have been used in many industrial process streams such as food processing, metal production, chemical production, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Techniques and concepts from these applications were used in designing the mass transfer experiments. This dissertation supports the effort to address the tritium challenge by investigating inert gas sparging coupled with high-power ultrasonics through two scaled mass transfer experiments and a parameter comparison study of the two experiments.

The first experiment reported in this dissertation is the Small Ultrasonic Mass Transfer Experiment (SUMATRA). This experiment had shown proof-of-concept that high power ultrasonics can enhance sparging mass transfer. The second experiment, the Prototype Ultrasonic Mass Transfer (PULST) experiment, was an attempt to scale-up the SUMATRA experiment and to construct a prototype ultrasonically enhanced sparging mass transfer module which was designed based on utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf components. Although the PULST experimental data did not conclusively show an enhancement in the mass transfer rate, a parameter comparison was performed to define the boundaries of the design space in order to provide insight in designing a more optimized mass transfer sparging cell. The implications of the two experiments and parameter study are discussed and suggestions for future work is presented.


Ultrasonics, Sonomechanical enhancement, Flibe, FHR, Tritium, Scaled experiment

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Anil Prinja

Second Committee Member

Edward Blandford

Third Committee Member

Leonard Bond

Fourth Committee Member

Sang M. Han

Fifth Committee Member

Youho Lee