Numerical Study of Two Phase Slug Flow in Pipes

Multiphase flows occur in wide applications including; nuclear, chemical, and petroleum industries. One of the most important flow regime encountered in multiphase flow is the slug flow which is often encountered in oil and gas production systems. The slugging problems may cause flooding of downstream processing facilities, severe pipe corrosion and the structural instability of pipeline and further induce the reservoir flow oscillations, and a poor reservoir management.

In the current project, computational fluid dynamics simulation is used to investigate two phase slug flow in marine pipes using the volume of fluid (VOF) methodology implemented in the commercial code ANSYS Fluent. The simulations are using ARCHIE-WeSt to solve the problem of computing intensity and time consuming. The project covers wide range of cases including; drift of single Taylor in stagnant liquid, flow of two consecutive Taylor bubbles in stagnant liquid, rise of single Taylor bubble in concurrent liquid and flow of two consecutive bubbles in concurrent fluid. The study includes both laminar and turbulent flow regimes. Different pipeline orientations varying from vertical till horizontal orientations are examined.

The viscous, inertial, and interfacial forces have significant effect on the hydrodynamic characteristics of two-phase slug flow. These forces can have investigated by introducing a set of dimensionless numbers, namely; inverse viscosity number, Nf, Eotvos number, Eo, and Froude number, FrUTB. The project aims to investigate the main hydrodynamic features of two phase slug flow including; the shape of Taylor bubble, bubble profile, velocity and thickness of the falling film, wake flow pattern, and wall shear stress distribution over wide range of dimensionless governing groups. Correlations for the Taylor bubble rise velocity are as well developed.

The main target of the project is to model two phase slug flow in marine pipeline. Due to computational challenges, previous simulation studies contained simplicities in their projects. In this study, the flow conditions closer to practical operating conditions will be modeled. These include the unsteady, three-dimensional flow and free-surface interaction. It is expected that, the outcome of this project will contribute significantly to the industry design on pipeline systems.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Qing Xiao (qing.xiao [at] strath [dot] ac [dot] uk), or Enass Massoud (Enass-zakaria-shafik-massoud [at] strath [dot] ac [dot] uk), PhD student at the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

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