The first works devoted to the problem of heat transfer at supercritical pressures started as early as the 1930s. E. Schmidt and his associates investigated free-convection heat transfer to fluids at the near-critical point with the objective of developing a new effective cooling system for turbine blades in jet engines. In the 1950s, the idea of using supercritical “steam”-water appeared to be rather attractive for steam generators / turbines to increase thermal efficiency of fossil-fired power plants. Intensive work on this subject was mainly performed in the former USSR and in the USA in the 1950s–1980s. Therefore, the most investigated flow geometry at supercritical pressures is circular tubes with water as the coolant. Currently, using supercritical “steam” in fossil-fired power plants is the largest industrial application of fluids at supercritical pressures. At the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, some studies were conducted to investigate the possibility of using supercritical water as a coolant in nuclear reactors. Several concepts of nuclear reactors were developed. However, this idea was abandoned for almost 30 years, and then regained momentum in the 1990s as a means to improve the performance of water-cooled nuclear reactors. Main objectives of using supercritical water in nuclear reactors are increasing the efficiency of modern nuclear power plants, which is currently 30–35%, to circa 43–50%, and decreasing operational and capital costs by eliminating steam generators, steam separators, steam dryers, etc. Therefore, objectives of the current paper are to assess the work that was performed and to understand specifics of heat transfer at supercritical pressures.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.