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Title: Experimental characterisation of bubbly flow using MRI
Author: Tayler, Alexander B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 2841
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis describes the first application of ultra-fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) towards the characterisation of bubbly flow systems. The principle goal of this study is to provide a hydrodynamic characterisation of a model bubble column using drift-flux analysis by supplying experimental closure for those parameters which are considered difficult to measure by conventional means. The system studied consisted of a 31 mm diameter semi-batch bubble column, with 16.68 mM dysprosium chloride solution as the continuous phase. This dopant served the dual purpose of stabilising the system at higher voidages, and enabling the use of ultra-fast MRI by rendering the magnetic susceptibilities of the two phases equivalent. Spiral imaging was selected as the optimal MRI scan protocol for application to bubbly flow on the basis of its high temporal resolution, and robustness to fluid flow and shear. A velocimetric variant of this technique was developed, and demonstrated in application to unsteady, single-phase pipe flow up to a Reynolds number of 12,000. By employing a compressed sensing reconstruction, images were acquired at a rate of 188 fps. Images were then acquired of bubbly flow for the entire range of voidages for which bubbly flow was possible (up to 40.8%). Measurements of bubble size distribution and interfacial area were extracted from these data. Single component velocity fields were also acquired for the entire range of voidages examined. The terminal velocity of single bubbles in the present system was explored in detail with the goal of validating a bubble rise model for use in drift-flux analysis. In order to provide closure to the most sophisticated bubble rise models, a new experimental methodology for quantifying the 3D shape of rising single bubbles was described. When closed using shape information produced using this technique, the theory predicted bubble terminal velocities within 9% error for all bubble sizes examined. Drift-flux analysis was then used to provide a hydrodynamic model for the present system. Good predictions were produced for the voidage at all examined superficial gas velocities (within 5% error), however the transition of the system to slug flow was dramatically overpredicted. This is due to the stabilising influence of the paramagnetic dopant, and reflects that while drift-flux analysis is suitable for predicting liquid holdup in electrolyte stabilised systems, it does not provide an accurate representation of hydrodynamic stability. Finally, velocity encoded spiral imaging was applied to study the dynamics of single bubble wakes. Both freely rising bubbles and bubbles held static in a contraction were examined. Unstable transverse plane vortices were evident in the wake of the static bubble, which were seen to be coupled with both the path deviations and wake shedding of the bubble. These measurements demonstrate the great usefulness for spiral imaging in the study of transient multiphase flow phenomena.
Supervisor: Gladden, Lynn F. Sponsor: Cambridge Australia Trust ; Trinity College, Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging ; Bubbly flow ; Multiphase flow ; Hydrodynamics