Horizontal, oil-water flows in the dual continuous flow regime
The research presented in this thesis is concerned with the flow behaviour of two-phase, liquid-liquid, oil-water flow through horizontal pipes. The test liquids used were oil (density 828kg/rn3, viscosity 6x iO 3 Pa s) and water, with experiments carried out in a purpose built test facility with a stainless steel pipe (internal dia. 38mm, length 8m). Visual observation of the flow was possible at low mixture velocities through a lm transparent pipe at the end of the test section. At higher mixture velocities local probes were used for flow pattern identification. These local probes were a conductivity probe for identifying the continuous phase, and a high frequency impedance probe for measuring local phase distribution. A dual sensor impedance probe was also developed for measuring local drop velocity and also the drop chord length distributions. Pressure gradient was also measured using a differential pressure transducer, and in-situ phase fractions were obtained using Quick Closing Valves. Experimental results show that the dual continuous flow regime, where both phases retain their continuity while there is mixing at the interface, dominates at all input oil fractions at low mixture velocities and intermediate oil fractions at high mixture velocities. In general the pressure drop of the two-phase mixture is lower than that of single phase oil. At higher mixture velocities a minimum in pressure gradient appeared at high oil fractions perhaps as a combination of the drag reduction phenomenon and the relative fraction of the oil and water layers in the pipe. At the highest mixture velocity this minimum was at the boundary of fully dispersed oil continuous flow with dual continuous flow. Velocity ratios are shown to increase with increasing oil fraction at low mixture velocities, with this trend reversing at high mixture velocities. These trends in the pressure gradient and velocity ratio can be explained using the phase distribution diagrams, with the interfacial curvature greatly affecting velocity ratio. Local chord length data shows that, in general, drop sizes decrease with increasing distance from the interface and that oil drops tend to be slightly larger than water drops. Mixture velocity did not significantly affect the drop size of either phase in dual continuous flow. A modified version of the two-fluid model was suggested for dual continuous flow that treats the upper and lower layers as dispersions and uses experimental entrainment to calculate their properties. Better predictions were obtained when friction factors that accounted for the drag reduction phenomenon were used to calculate wall shear stresses.