Two-phase gas-liquid flow in concentric and fully eccentric annuli. Part I: Flow patterns, holdup, slip ratio and pressure gradient
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionChemical Engineering Science. 2019, 203 489-500. 10.1016/j.ces.2019.01.064
Horizontal and upward low-inclination gas-water and gas-oil flows are investigated using an annulus pipe configuration in a high-pressure system (~400 kPa). The annulus test section, or the so-called pipe-in-pipe configuration, consists of an outer pipe of 99 mm inside diameter and an inner pipe of 50 mm outside diameter. Two different vertical positions of the inner pipe with respect to outer pipe have been tested; namely concentric configuration where both pipes have the same centreline and fully eccentric where the inner pipe is placed at the bottom wall of outer pipe. The flow is studied using high-speed photography, differential pressure transducers, and broad-beam gamma densitometers to characterise the flow as function of the liquid phase properties, annulus eccentricity, and pipe inclination. Flow regime maps reveal that slug flow appears to be the most common flow feature across the conditions studied in this paper. Flow in the eccentric annulus shows a more consistent behaviour (i.e. well-defined flow structures axially and in time) than that observed in the concentric annulus. Gas-oil flows show more stable phase fraction behaviour across the cross-section compared to that observed in gas-water flows in which the interface shows significant activity promoting the formation of droplets and ligaments that break from the liquid film. This is especially the case with the concentric annulus configuration. The oil phase regardless of the geometrical configuration tends to fully wet the pipe (made of PVC) as the gas velocity increases, creating a continuous film along the pipe walls. Conversely, the thin film in gas-water flow is not continuous. Discontinuity in the thin film increases with an increase in effective pipe roughness. Given the same inlet flow conditions, the concentric annulus configuration causes larger pressure drop along the pipe than that obtained in the eccentric.