The near-critical CO2-based natural circulation loop (NCL, or thermosyphon) has been proposed in many energy conversion systems, such as the solar heater, waste heat recovery, next-generation nuclear cooling, and so on. There is an increasing need to obtain detailed information about such systems, as it is less verified from a basic system operation viewpoint. This paper presents an experimental investigation of a near-critical CO2 thermosyphon. The closed thermosyphon is specially designed for high-pressure (in the critical region, from 6.0 MPa to 15.0 MPa), natural circulation flows. The basic transient flow behaviors and parameter behaviors are found to be dependent on initial pressure. The system stability evolution from subcritical oscillating flow to supercritical stable operations is presented. From the experimental data analysis, the stability map for the current supercritical natural circulation loop system is given. It is found that the stability pressure lines will divide the operation into stable, transition, and unstable regions. It is found that the effectiveness of the cooler will greatly affect the system stability, while the heat transfer efficiency is mainly controlled by the heater conditions. Parameter evolutions of the fluid temperature, mass flow rate, and loop pressure are presented in this paper. The heat transfer dependency on operation pressure and evolution mechanisms are also discussed in detail in this paper.
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