A test campaign has been conducted to study the effects of localized blockages on the friction factor of a 61-pin wire-wrapped bundle replica. Blockages of selected sizes and locations within the bundle have been installed, and fluid pressure drop was measured across one wire pitch. The friction factor was compared with the unblocked bundle friction factor, and with the predictions of a well-established friction factor correlation.
A computational fluid dynamics model of the experimental bundle was prepared, and simulations were compared with experimental results with the ultimate goal to complement the experimental activity with validated simulation data. The unique sets of experimental data, complemented with simulation results, provide a quantification of the increase of the bundle friction factor produced by the blockages, and the different expected effects based on blockage size and location for various flow regimes.