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I Alternate Heat Expansion Media for Nuclear Power Plants

  1. May 3, 2017 #1
    I am interested in whether it might be possible to select a more efficient heat expansion media for nuclear power plants than water, which has a very specific heat and a very high heat of vaporization.

    The high value of the specific heat and the heat of vaporization of water requires much more energy to heat the water in the liquid phase (up to about 750 degrees Fahrenheit under high pressure) and to turn the water to steam.

    I am guessing that maybe some other material with a lower intermolecular forces and a better vapor pressure curve might produce a greater volume of vapor at a greater pressure for the same amount of energy.

    The material would be heated by the primary sodium loop and would have to be recycled by cooling by a third loop, probably containing water which could be released and replaced.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2017 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The water/steam is just an energy transfer medium and:
    1. You can only get out of it what you put in.
    2. Higher latent heat tends to be better because it reduces the required mass of energy transfer medium.
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