The blanket modules of first wall need bear tremendous heat flux due to the very high temperature of plasma in the nuclear fusion reactor. Therefore, it is significant to clarify the knowledge of transient heat transfer process for helium gas flowing in the tubes installed in the blanket modules.
In this research, the transient heat transfer process of turbulent forced convection for helium gas flowing in a horizontal minichannel was experimentally investigated. The test tube made of platinum with the inner diameter of 1.8 mm, the wall thickness of 0.1 mm and the effective length of 90 mm was heated by a direct current from power source. The heat generation rate of the test tube, Q̇, was raised with an exponential function, Q̇ = Q0 exp(t/τ), where Q0 is the initial heat generation rate, t is time, and τ is e-folding time of heat generation rate. The heat generation rates of the test tube were controlled and measured by a heat input control system. The flow rates were adjusted by the bypass of gas loop and measured by the turbine flow meter. The experiment was conducted under the e-folding time of heat generation rate ranged from 40 ms to 15 s. Based on experimental data, it is obvious that the heat flux and temperature difference between surface temperature of test tube and bulk temperature of helium gas increased with the exponentially increasing of heat generation rate. At the same flow velocity, the heat transfer coefficients approached constant values when the e-folding time is longer than about 1 s (quasi-steady state), but increased with a decrease of e-folding time when the e-folding time is smaller than about 1 s (transient state). The heat transfer coefficients increased with the increase in flow velocities but showed less dependent on flow velocities at shorter e-folding time. Furthermore, the Nusselt number under quasi-steady and transient condition was affected by the Reynolds number and the Fourier number.