Computational Fluid Dynamics for Multiphase Flow in Pipelines

For the design of multiphase flow transport through pipelines usually one-dimensional steady state or dynamic simulation methods are used. However there is an increasing interest to use simulation packages for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), like CFX, Fluent, and STAR-CD. Applications are primarily the processing units (like separators, compressors and pumps), but it of interest to know whether CFD methods are applicable to pipelines as well.

Multiphase flow in pipelines is characterised by various flow regimes, which depend among others, on the liquid and gas flow rate. The three main flow regimes are: stratified flow, slug flow, and annular flow. This Master project will investigate to what extent CFD predictions are reliable for the multiphase flow transport of liquid and gas through horizontal pipelines. The focus is on stratified flow and on slug flow.

This Master project will be linked to the PhD project by Milos Birvaski, who carries out Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) experiments for the velocity profiles in two-phase pipeline flows. In these experiments the gas and liquid flow rates and the pipe inclination will be varied. The experimental results will be compared with the simulations obtained in the Master project.

Figure: Transport of a liquid slug in a vertical pipe as calculated with various CFD tools, from left to right: FLUENT, OpenFOAM, and STAR-CD.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. ir. R.A.W.M. Henkes

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