Group Title: 7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow - ICMF 2010 Proceedings
Title: 4.3.3 - High viscosity oil-water-air three phase flows: flow maps, pressure drops and bubble dynamic
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 Material Information
Title: 4.3.3 - High viscosity oil-water-air three phase flows: flow maps, pressure drops and bubble dynamic Industrial Applications
Series Title: 7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow - ICMF 2010 Proceedings
Physical Description: Conference Papers
Creator: Strazza, D.
Chiecchi, D.
Poesio, P.
Publisher: International Conference on Multiphase Flow (ICMF)
Publication Date: June 4, 2010
 Subjects
Subject: three-phase flows
high viscosity oil
oil/water/air
core-annular
pressure drop
bubble frequency
 Notes
Abstract: We propose an experimental study on three-phase flow in 9 m long glass pipe paying attention to the effects of gas on core-annular flow. We also present pressure drop data collected by a differential pressure transducer and then we compare them with predicted ones with a literature model. Two absolute pressure transducers and two capacitance probes provide finally information about the bubble dynamic (frequency and velocity).
General Note: The International Conference on Multiphase Flow (ICMF) first was held in Tsukuba, Japan in 1991 and the second ICMF took place in Kyoto, Japan in 1995. During this conference, it was decided to establish an International Governing Board which oversees the major aspects of the conference and makes decisions about future conference locations. Due to the great importance of the field, it was furthermore decided to hold the conference every three years successively in Asia including Australia, Europe including Africa, Russia and the Near East and America. Hence, ICMF 1998 was held in Lyon, France, ICMF 2001 in New Orleans, USA, ICMF 2004 in Yokohama, Japan, and ICMF 2007 in Leipzig, Germany. ICMF-2010 is devoted to all aspects of Multiphase Flow. Researchers from all over the world gathered in order to introduce their recent advances in the field and thereby promote the exchange of new ideas, results and techniques. The conference is a key event in Multiphase Flow and supports the advancement of science in this very important field. The major research topics relevant for the conference are as follows: Bio-Fluid Dynamics; Boiling; Bubbly Flows; Cavitation; Colloidal and Suspension Dynamics; Collision, Agglomeration and Breakup; Computational Techniques for Multiphase Flows; Droplet Flows; Environmental and Geophysical Flows; Experimental Methods for Multiphase Flows; Fluidized and Circulating Fluidized Beds; Fluid Structure Interactions; Granular Media; Industrial Applications; Instabilities; Interfacial Flows; Micro and Nano-Scale Multiphase Flows; Microgravity in Two-Phase Flow; Multiphase Flows with Heat and Mass Transfer; Non-Newtonian Multiphase Flows; Particle-Laden Flows; Particle, Bubble and Drop Dynamics; Reactive Multiphase Flows
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Volume ID: VID00106
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Holding Location: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: 433-Strazza-ICMF2010.pdf

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7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


High viscosity oil-water-air three phase flows: flow maps, pressure drops and
bubble dynamic


D. Strazza, D. Chiecchi and P. Poesio

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale, UniversitO di Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123, Brescia, Italy
domenico.strazza@ing.unibs.it and pietro.poesio@ing.unibs.it
Keywords: : three-phase flows, high viscosity oil, oil/water/air, core-annular, pressure drop, bubble frequency




Abstract

We propose an experimental study on three-phase flow in 9 m long glass pipe paying attention to the effects of gas
on core-annular flow. We also present pressure drop data collected by a differential pressure transducer and then we
compare them with predicted ones with a literature model. Two absolute pressure transducers and two capacitance
probes provide finally information about the bubble dynamic (frequency and velocity).


Nomenclature

Symbol
D pipe inner diameter (m)
A pipe inner area (m2)
Qi volumetric flow rate of the i-phase (m3/s)
uis sup. velocity of the i-phase = Qi/A (m/s)
Subscripts
w water
o oil
g gas



Introduction

Despite continuous and increasing efforts towards new
alternative energy resources, oil is still one of the most
important; at the same time, the ever increase energy de-
mand from the developing countries calls for new crude
oil reservoirs to be exploited. The growing consumption
of light oil and the constant increase of oil prices have
forced oil industries, engineers, and scientists to think
to heavy oil as a possible alternative to conventional re-
sources. As a matter of fact, heavy crudes provide an
interesting solution for the economics of petroleum de-
velopment, since the resources of heavy oil in the world
are more than twice those of conventional light crude
oils. Also for geopolitical reasons heavy oils are appel-
ing since quantities of heavy crudes have been discov-
ered in the Americas.
On the other hand, even if the reservoirs of heavy oils
are wider than the conventional ones, their production is


made more difficult by the high viscosity, ranging from
1 to 100 Pa-s, that increases the pumping power needed
to move the oil from the reservoir to the production sites
and to refineries.
With the aim to reduce the pumping costs, in the last
years, some possible solutions were proposed: heating-
up the pipeline, blending with low viscosity hydrocar-
bons, and formation of oil-in-water emulsions. The
drawbacks of these techniques are both economical and
technological: heating the pipe line is extremely ex-
pensive and calls for a proper thermal insulation of the
pipeline.
A possible solution is the core-annular flow: it is a
very interesting flow pattern that consists of a highly vis-
cous oil core surrounded by a thin layer of water flowing
through a pipeline. Reviews on core-annular flow can
be found in Oliemans & Ooms (1985), Joseph et al.
(1997), and Ghosh et al. (2009).
However, in many industrial applications, such as oil
recovery, it is not possible to flow oil and water alone,
because gas is also present, causing a three-phase flow
through the pipeline. Although a large number of theo-
retical and experimental works on liquid-liquid flows is
present, very few examples of three-phase flows are re-
ported in the literature (ref. for example to Bannwart et
al. (2004) and Poesio et al. (2009a, b)) and not much is
known about the influence of gas on this flow pattern.
Large part of theoretical research on three-phase flows
through a pipeline is limited to stratified flow, where the
continuous separated layers structure allows a relatively
easy modelling, see for instance Taitel et al. (1995),
Khor et al. (1997), and Hanich and Thompson (2001).







7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


three
phase
mixture


Figure 1: Sketch of the experimental set-up.


On the other hand, even if the reported experimental
tests cover a wide range of conditions oil viscosity is
always comparable to the one of water or only slightly
larger, the Reader who wants to have an overview on
low viscosity three-phase flow is suggested to look up
Aqikgoz et al. (1992), Stapelberg and Mewes (1994),
Oddie et al. (2003) while the case of high viscosity
oils are reported by Bannwart et al. (2004) and Poesio
et al. (2009a, b).
A more detailed review on literary works about three-
phase flows can be found in Hewitt (2007) and Poesio
et al. (2009b).
In the present work we present an experimental cam-
paign on three-phase flow with a high viscous oil, but,
differently from previous works, Poesio et al. (2009a,
b):

1. the gaseous phase is injected in the oil one before
entering the test pipe;

2. considerations are not limited to CAF;

3. the bubble dynamic is investigated through the sig-
nals obtained from absolute pressure transducers
and capacitance probes.

Experimental setup

The experimental facility consists of an L = 9 m long
glass pipe with internal diameter D = 0.022 m (L/D =
428). A sketch of the experimental facility is given in
Fig. 1.
Oil has an 886 kg/m3 density and 0.9 Pa-s dynamic
viscosity. Oil and water flow rates are measured by a
turbine and a magnetic flow-meters, respectively. Oil
flow-meter is specifically calibrated for high viscosity


fluids. Oil screw-type pump is controlled by a mechan-
ical reducer, while water is supplied by a centrifugal
pump connected to a frequency inverter, which assures
the control of the flow-rate. Pressure drop data are col-
lected by a differential pressure transducer (PD) on a 1.5
m piece placed 6 m downstream the injection point (see
Fig. 1). The pipe end is at atmospheric pressure so that
oil and water are discharged into a storing vessel where
they separate by gravity before being recirculated back,
a glass box is inserted to reduce optical distortion (to al-
low a correct observation of the flow). All the movies
and the pictures are collected through the observation
window.
In the present campaign, air is injected in the oil phase
through a specifically designed injection device (insert A
in Fig. 1). Oil and air flow together vertically for 0.7 m
before entering the main inlet device (insert B in Fig. 1)
and the horizontal test pipe. In the main inlet device oil
and air are injected through a small tube concentric to
the glass pipe, and water is injected as an annulus.


0


p


Guard electrodes
_ _


Sensing electrodes
Sensing electrodes


Figure 2: Sketch of the capacitance electrodes.

Elongated bubble dynamic is investigated in two dif-
ferent ways by absolute pressure and capacitance mea-
surements. Two absolute pressure transducers (PA) are












placed 1.5 and 4.5 m downstream the injection. The
absolute pressure transducer signals are analyzed and
bubble frequency is computed. Two capacitance probes
(CP), similar to the ones proposed by Dos Reis & Gold-
stein (2005), are placed between the differential pres-
sure transducer plugs at a distance of 0.2 m. The elec-
trodes opening angle is 179 while the axial length of
the sensing electrodes is 0.01 m (Fig. 2). The differ-
ent permettivity between the fluids and the gas bubbles
causes capacitance variations Demori et al. (2009) and
therefore can be used to detect an air bubble passing by.


S-P1 =1 5m
0.24 ---P2 = 4.5 m
S.. C1 =6.5m
0 --C2= 6.7m
5 0.14 i

S.. s se f in. 3 -,

:.. ,. ,



-0.1.5 555 5.6 565 57 5.75 5.8 585 5.9 595 6
Time [s]

Figure 3: Filtered capacitance and pressure outputs: to
each signal the average value is subtracted.


From signals, see for instance Fig. 3, bubble fre-
quency is computed and the bubble velocity is obtained
by cross-correlating the two signals. Coupling pressure
and capacitance measurements it is possible to obtain the
bubble dynamic evolution along the pipe.
Guard electrodes control the electric field and (see
Fig. 2) minimize the current losses due to the water con-
ductivity, see Demori et al. (2009) for a paper descrip-
tion of the current losses. Respect to the previous works,
where we obtained bubble frequencies by images post
processing, see Poesio et al. (2009b), the analysis of
pressure and capacitance signals does not require exten-
sive computational effort.

Experimental procedure
The oil flow rate is fixed at the maximum achievable in
our test facility (uo = 0.58 m/s) and all experiments are
carried out following this procedure:


1. water flow-rate is set at the desired value, starting
from the maximum flow-rate (u,, = 2.8 m/s);

2. air is injected into nozzle A (0.7 m upstream the
injection device) of the minimum flow rate (.. =
0.11 m/s);

3. observations and data acquisitions are collected;


7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


4. keeping fixed water flow-rate, air flow-rate is in-
creased; observations and data acquisitions for the
new air and water flow-rate pair are acquired;

5. step 4 is repeated until the maximum air flow-rate
that can be achieved in our test facility (.. = 1.1
m/s) is reached;

6. water flow rate is reduced and steps 2 to 5 are re-
peated for the new water flow-rate;

7. step 6 is repeated until the minimum water flow-
rate that can be achieved in our test facility (u,, =
0.5 m/s) is reached.


Results

In Fig. 4 we present the experimental flow map: oil su-
perficial velocity, u,,, is fixed to 0.58 m/s. The descrip-
tion of the flow regimes is given in the following:

DOAW: oil and air dispersion in water, Fig. 5(a);

IA-DOW: intermittent air with oil dispersion in wa-
ter, Fig. 5(b);

IA-COF: intermittent air and oil "chaotic" flow,
Fig. 5(c);

CAF-3F: three-phase core-annular flow (core-
annular flow with oil in water dispersion and in-
termittent air), Fig. 5(d);

CAF-DOAW: core-annular flow with oil and air
dispersion, Fig. 5(e).


275 +


+ +


225 + + + + 0 0 0 0 0 0
l + + 0 0 0 x x x x x
E 175
0 x x x x x x x x x
S1.25 O 0 x x x x x x x x
0 0 x x x x x x x x
075


0 2 0 x
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4


x x x x x x
0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2
u [m/s]
gsL


Figure 4: Experimental flow map. Description of the
flow regimes is given in the text. + = DOAW,
Fig. 5(a); o = IA-DOW, Fig. 5(b); x = IA-
COF, Fig. 5(c); D = CAF-3F, Fig. 5(d); 0 =
CAF-DOAW, Fig. 5(e).

The flow regime IA-COF, Fig. 5(c), is an intermit-
tent flow regime with air bubbles are separated by liquid












zones where oil is made by an agglomeration of droplets
of different dimensions dispersed in water. Bannwart et
al. (2004) classified this flow regime as "intermittent
air-intermittent oil".


FA1 -t:4 L


7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


10 .. .
-.-ug =011 m/s



S .
0* . . o .


LO



0 0.25 05 075 1 1.25 15 175 2 2.25 2.5 2.75 3
uw [m/s]

Figure 6: Experimental pressure drops as function of
the water superficial velocity for each gas flow
rate.


Figure 5: Pictures of the observed flow regimes: a)
DOAW, oil and air dispersion in water; b)
IA-DOW, intermittent air with oil dispersion
in water; c) IA-COF, intermittent air and oil
"chaotic" flow; d) CAF-3F, core-annular flow
with oil in water dispersion and intermittent
air; e) CAF-DOAW; core-annular flow with
oil and air dispersion.

The three-phase core-annular existing zones decrease
increasing the gas flow rate giving rise to the transition
to IA-COF: the gas flow rate increase causes the oil core
break-up, as already observed by Poesio et al. (2009b)
with a different injection device.

Pressure drops
In Fig. 6 we show the experimental pressure drops.
It is possible to note a regular trend of the pressure
drops, which seem not be influenced by the different
flow regimes and this can be explained by the fact that
for all the observed flow regimes water is always in con-
tact with the pipe wall.


Looking at Fig. 4 we now consider only the exper-
imental data with the lowest values of water flow rate
u,~, that is 0.5 and 1 m/s, and we present pressure drops
for these data in terms of reduction factor. In Bannwart
et al. (2004) and Poesio et al. (2009b) the reduction
factor, R2 -p, for three-phase flows is defined as:

-P oil-water
23p oil-water gas
where APoi-water is the pressure drop for liquid-liquid
two-phase flow and APoi-water-gas is the pressure drop
for three-phase flow. The reduction factor R2 3p is plot-
ted in Fig. 7 as function of EgL, defined as

9gL = (2)
Uws + Uos UL
where UL is the total liquid flow rate. As can be seen
from Fig. 7 the reduction factor is always lower than
unity, indicating that the addition of a third gaseous
phase increases the pressure drop respect to the corre-
sponding two-phase (oil-water) flow condition.


gL []


Figure 7: Reduction factor R2 3p for two different wa-
ter superficial velocities.

In previous works, see for example Poesio et al.
(2009b) for certain flow conditions we found an irreg-


I -- --


pm~ ~T ~ ~ __







7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


ular behavior of R2 3p. Defining CwL the water input
fraction respect to the total liquid flow rate:


CwL


we found that for an oil superficial velocity similar to
the one investigated in this work, 0.6 m/s, the irregular
behavior of R2-3p started for CwL values under 0.25.
The reduction of CL is convenient in terms of heavy
oil transportation however once reached this condition
we found that in some cases three-phase pressure drops
where lower than two-phase ones (R2 3p>l), but also
a not satisfactory data repeatability because a small re-
duction of the water superficial velocity could bring the
oil in contact with the pipe wall and so to the transition
to two-phase stratified flow with gas bubbles flowing on
the top with a sharp increase of the pressure drops.
In the present work the minimum value assumed by
CL is 0.45 (u,, = 0.5 m/s) preventing the oil to touch
the pipe wall also for flow regimes different from three-
phase core-annular flow. Probably this value could be
further reduced, but with this value of CwL, the three-
phase pressure drop is still an order of magnitude lower
than flowing oil alone in the pipe at u,, = 0.58 m/s. If
we define the reduction factor R1 3p:


R13p= (4)
APoil-water gas
where APo is calculated using the Hagen-Poiseuille law,
we have, Fig. 8, that at the maximum air flow rate the
three-phase pressure drops is 25 times lower respect to
the single phase oil one.


40
30
20
10


0.1 02 0.3 04 0.5 06 0.7 08 0.9 1 1.1
gL [-1

Figure 8: Reduction factor R- 3p for two different val-
ues of CL-

The measured pressure drops are compared to the
ones predicted by the model proposed by Poesio et al.
(2009a). The model was developed for three-phase
core-annular flow and combines a classical two-fluid
model for two-phase core-annular flow and the Lockart-
Martinelli equivalent liquid model. The pressure drop
prediction is defined as follows:


AP3p = APg + C APL AP + APL (5)

where AP, is the pressure drop of gas flowing alone
in the pipe at the velocity .. computed with Blasius
friction factor, APL is the pressure drop predicted by the
two-fluid model for two-phase core-annular flow using
the closure relations proposed by Brauner (2004). C is
a constant that was set to 15.

10

9 -.-.---- --------- I -------- -------------------.------............. --------
: : ; : _t|_


........ ......... -- -- ........ ..---. ........ --- --
65 -------- - --------- - ......--- --- ---- -. --- -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. -
...
a)







0
4 --- - - - -






S 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Experimental [kPa]

Figure 9: Comparison between experimental pressure
drops and predicted ones. The solid line rep-
resents perfect agreement, while dashed lines
represent 20%.

As can be seen from Fig. 9, the agreement between
experimental and theoretical values show a poor agree-
ment, but it is important to underline that the model was
validated for three-phase core-annular flow, while the
present comparison was obtained for all the flow regimes
described in Fig. 4. The agreement between experimen-
tal and predicted pressure drops is always within 20%.

Bubble dynamic
The first step to characterize intermittent flows is to com-
pute the characteristic frequency. Several methods have
been propose for this purpose as described in Poesio
(2008). One of the techniques that provide the optimal
signal-to-noise ratio is the Welch method.
In the present work the characteristic frequency is ob-
tained from absolute pressure signals and capacitance
signals in order to have the evolution of the bubble dy-
namic 1.5, 4.5 and 6.5 m (distance from the nozzle of
the first capacitance probe) after the injection. In previ-
ous works the characteristic frequency was investigated


Ci = 0.63 (Uw = 1 m/s)
e-.C = 045(U =05 m/s)





S-S-----H--Q-.] ,







7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
ICMF 2010, Tampa, FL, May 30 -June 4, 2010


for three-phase core-annular flow: in this work we ana-
lyze the characteristic frequency of all the flow regimes
with u,, equal to 0.5 and 1 m/s.

15 i". i -i-s
12.5 -A --4.5 m
**x 6.5m
10 : Characteristic frequency as function of

m 7. /
5 A
2.5 4 V --..E

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8
P'gL [-]

Figure 10: Characteristic frequency as function of 9gL
at different positions along the pipe. u,s = 1
m/s.


-e-1 5 m


__------"------

0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1
cL [-


Figure 11: Characteristic frequency as function of ygL
at different positions along the pipe. uw =
0.5 m/s

In Fig. 10 and 11, the characteristic frequency f is
plotted as function of EL at different positions along
the pipe. In previous work, Poesio et al. (2009b), for
three-phase core-annular flow in the last tract of the pipe
we found a linear increase of f as function of gL. In
the present analysis we did not found a linear correspon-
dence between f and gL in any analyzed position along
the pipe. In our opinion this is mainly due to the fact that
in the present campaign the main flow regime is IA-COF
where the gas bubbles frequency is influenced by the oil
"chaotic" flow.
Another important aspect of intermittent flows if the
elongated air bubble velocity. The bubble velocity v
is calculated correlating the two capacitance signals in
order to find the time needed to a bubble to pass from
the first to the second sensing electrode. Since the two
probes are placed at a distance of 0.2 m (6.5 and 6.7 m
after the injection) the bubble velocity was computed. In
Fig. 12 the velocity is plotted in dimensionless form v*:


as function of gL showing the same linear trend for the
two investigated water superficial velocities.


gL [-]


Figure 12: Characteristic bubble velocity for some tests
performed.


The present method for bubble dynamic investiga-
tion using pressure and capacitance signals proved to be
more practical in terms of computational effort respect
to the analysis of image processing.



Conclusions

In this work, we present an experimental investigation of
three-phase flow using water, air and high viscosity oil,
focusing our attention on the effects of gas on liquid-
liquid core annular flow. We present an experimental
flow map showing that increasing the gas flow rate, oil
core breaks its integrity giving rise to a "chaotic" flow
regime. In spite of the core break-up we find that at the
water input fractions we use, pressure drop is higher re-
spect to the corresponding two-phase flow regime but
still an order of magnitude lower than single phase oil
flow at the same superficial velocity. Experimental pres-
sure drop are compared to a theoretical model devel-
oped for three-phase core-annular flow. The comparison
shows poor agreement probably because the model was
not developed for the flow regimes we observe in our
experimental campaign. On the other hand the differ-
ence between experimental and predicted pressure drop
is within 20%.
Finally, we provide an analysis of bubble dynamic for
the lowest water superficial velocities. Respect to previ-
ous works bubble frequency do not show a linear trend
with the increase of gas flow rate, while the dimension-
less bubble velocity shows the linear trend already ob-
served previously.











Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Prof. Sotgia (Politecnico di
Milano) for the useful discussions. Part of this work
was supported by the MIUR under the grant PRIN2008:
Core-annular flow: an energy efficient way to transport
heavy oil.

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7th International Conference on Multiphase Flow,
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