Coupling Methods for HTR-PM Multicircuit Problem

Jianan Lu, Jiong Guo, Tomasz Kozlowski, Fu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor–Pebble Bed Module (HTR-PM) is a large-scale complex system that includes reactor core, steam generator, helium circulator, and other important components. When integrating these components, coupling problems such as multiphysics problem, multicircuit problem, multiscale problem, and multimodule problem arise in the numerical simulation. The HTR-PM multicircuit system comprises the primary circuit and secondary circuit, which are simulated by two independent codes and coupled by the interface in the once-through steam generator. Although time-consuming, Picard iteration is a feasible and convenient coupling method to integrate two components because oversolving in the early stages of the iteration causes strong fluctuation between circuits. To address this problem, optimization of the maximum subiteration number and convergence precision have been implemented to improve the efficiency and numerical stability of the Picard iteration. The Dynamic Residual Balance method, an improved version of the Residual Balance method, is proposed to prevent oversolving inside the subiterations. It takes into consideration fluctuation between circuits, and this method is robust in a wide range of cases. Moreover, the nonlinear preconditioned Jacobian-Free Newton-Krylov method, which has less fluctuation between circuits than Picard iteration, is a coupling scheme that updates all the solution variables from the primary circuit and the secondary circuit simultaneously. Outstanding convergence and efficiency can be obtained by implementing the proper preconditioner in this HTR-PM multicircuit problem. The downside is that it requires significant modification to the legacy codes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-146
Number of pages16
JournalNuclear Science and Engineering
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamic Residual Balance method
  • HTR-PM
  • Jacobian-Free Newton-Krylov method
  • Picard iteration
  • multicircuit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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