The next generation of nuclear power sources, Gen. IV, will include an emphasis on small, modular reactor (SMR) designs, which will allow for standardized, factory-based manufacturing and flexibility in the design of power plants by utilizing one or several modular reactor units in parallel. One of the reactor concepts being investigated is the Molten Salt Reactor concept (MSR), which utilizes a molten salt flow loop to cool the reactor and transfer heat to the power conversion cycle (PCS).Here, the use of a supercritical carbon dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton cycle is assumed for that PCS. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the heat exchange between these two systems and to determine the suitability of a common heat exchanger concept, the shell-and-tube heat exchanger (STHE). This was accomplished using a code written in Python programming language that optimized the geometry ofa baffled STHE for a range of conditions the reflect MSR power plants currently in the design or concept stages. Star-CCM+ computational fluid dynamics (CFD)software was used to visualize the flow patterns of molten salt and CO2 in these STHE designs, and it was also used to determine heat transfer coefficients and pressure drops. These values were compared to those calculated by the optimizer code in order to validate its results. Finally, modularity analysis was performed for these STHE designs. Trends were generalized from these results that will contribute to judgments about the suitability of STHE’s for use with MSR’s and S-CO2.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Kapat, Jayanta


Bachelor Science in Aerospace Engineering (B.S.A.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date