Numerical Characterisation of Slug Flow in Horizontal Air/Water Pipe Flow

Numerical Characterisation of Slug Flow in Horizontal Air/Water Pipe Flow

Zahid I. Al-Hashimy Hussain H. Al-Kayiem Rune W. Time Zena K. Kadhim

Mechanical Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, 32610 Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia

Department of Petroleum Engineering, Faculty of engineering and Science, University of Stavanger, Norway

Mechanical Engineering Department, College of Engineering, Wasit University, Wasit, Iraq

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In this work, the slug flow regime in an air-water horizontal pipe flow has been simulated using the CFD technique. The variables identified to characterise the slug regime are the slug length and slug initiation. Additionally, the pressure drop and the pressure distribution within the simulated pipe segment have been predicted. The volume of fluid method was employed assuming unsteady, immiscible air-water flow, constant fluid properties and coaxial flow. The model was developed in the STAR-CCM+ environment, and the grid was designed in the three dimensional domain using directed mesh. A grid independency study was carried out through the monitoring of the water velocity at the outlet section. 104,000 hexahedral cells for the entire geometry were decided on as the best combination of computing time and accuracy. The simulated pipe segment was 8 m long and had a 0.074 m internal diameter. Three cases of air-water volume fractions have been investigated, where the water flow rate was pre-set at 0.0028 m3/s, and the air flow rate was varied at three dissimilar values of 0.0105, 0.0120 and 0.015 m3/s. These flow rates were converted to superficial velocities and used as boundary conditions at the inlet of the pipe. The simulation was validated by bench marking with a Baker chart, and it had success- fully predicted the slug parameters. The computational fluid dynamics simulation results revealed that the slug length and pressure were increasing as the air superficial velocity increased. The slug initiation position was observed to end up being shifted to a closer position to the inlet. It was believed that the strength of the slug was high at the initiation stage and reduced as the slug progressed to the end of the pipe. The pressure gradient of the flow was realised to increase as the gas flow rate was increasing, which in turn was a result of the higher mean velocity.


hexahedral mesh, slug flow, slug flow characteristics, superficial velocity, two-phase flow


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