As a safety device to alleviate the loss of reactor coolant, the siphon breaking system is widely used in nuclear power plant. Researchers are very interested in this technique for its “passive” characteristic. Vertical downward air-water two-phase flow is encountered in the siphon breaking process. Previous researches have been more focused on some physical parameters, such as water flow rate, air flow rate, pressure drop and the undershooting height. Void fraction, as a key parameter in multiphase flow, should be studied in the siphon breaking phenomenon. Therefore, a needle-contact capacitance probe is used for flow-phase identification and a single-wire capacitance for obtaining the average value of gas distribution along the straight line. Experimental results show that the flow pattern during the vertical downward air-water two-phase flow is mostly annular flow. With the gas entering the pipeline, void fraction profile against time can be divided into three stages. The slope in the first stage is similar to that in the third. However, the slope slows down in the middle stage. The experimental results also show that the real duration time to break the siphon flow is as short as about 6 s. The void fraction at the end of the siphon breaking process is about 0.38. During this stage, a large amount of gas is sucked into the downcomer and little water is inhaled. The gas phase results in a convergent effect, where the air intake is the direct and fundamental reason of siphon breaking.

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