In certain fast-reactor designs, the core is an assemblage of a large number of containers of long, hexagonal, hollow cylinders mounted vertically. These so-called “hex-cans” sit individually on coolant nozzles held down by their own weight, and are held as a group laterally at two levels by two constraint rings. At operating temperature, the rings bear on the hex-can assembly because of differences in thermal expansion. The compression of the rings on the hex-can assembly serves to prevent lifting of the can individually or in groups because of any accidental buildup of gas pressure. In the analysis, it is observed that the large number of hexcans and the distribution of the temperature field are such that the cross section of the reactor core can be treated as in a locally uniform dilatational field. An approximate equation was developed relating the plane deformation of a hollow hex cylinder to the global lateral pressure. The parameters are the material constitution and the thickness index (the ratio of the interior and the exterior cross-flat dimensions). The effective range of the equation covers the thickness ratio from zero to the stability limit when the wall becomes too thin resulting in buckling under the lateral pressure. The design equation is exact for zero thickness index. For hollow hex cylinders, numerical solutions were also obtained by the finite element method as a comparison. For a thickness index of 0.9 to 0.95, the difference is less than 0.1 percent. The cylinder constitutive equation is then used to determine an equivalent stiffness for a solid hex cylinder that is to have the same deformation as the given hex-can. The entire planar core region is then analyzed as a homogeneous medium of the equivalent stiffness. The method was applied to the core confinement design for a fast reactor. The thermoelastic solution was then applied to a relatively simpler configuration than the actual case to give a measure of the lateral pressure. The available friction forces for various lift configurations were then obtained. The gas pressure necessary to overcome the minimum friction force thus resulted. In addition, using the lateral pressure, the safety margin of the wall thickness of the hex-can for stability failures was determined.

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