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Sub-Regimes of Vertical Two Phase Annular Flow Open Access


Other title
petroleum engineering
multiphase flow
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Nichol, John R
Supervisor and department
Kuru, Ergun (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Reformat, Marek (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Maeda, Nobuo (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Kelkar, Mohan (external reviewer, University of Tulsa, McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering)
Li, Huazhou (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Ghaemi, Sina (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A convenient method to calculate pressure drop in wells producing natural gas with some water or hydrocarbon liquids is desired in order to design the initial well completion and to consider the technical and economic benefits of a subsequent intervention to extend the operating life of the well. In a laboratory flow loop, air and water have been used as fluid proxies to study two-phase behaviour. Concurrent upward air-water flow has been measured in a 26.1mm internal diameter vertical test section at standard conditions over a range of superficial air and liquid velocities. Several sub-regimes of annular flow were newly observed or refined (pulse/disturbance wave, ripple-wave, partial-wetting, and rivulet) with both still and high speed video images recorded externally. The pressure gradients measured were consistent with previous work under similar conditions. The liquid film within the pipe was examined through Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) imaging, measuring film thickness over a selected range of air and water flow rates. In addition, the onset of droplet entrainment has been observed directly. This data has enabled a new detailed map of sub-regime boundaries to be proposed. Most models for annular flow incorporate a single correlation for interfacial friction without regard to the annular sub-regimes. By observation of computed friction factor and relative roughness data, it is found that the annular region can be represented with three zones of distinct behaviour. In non-entrained flow at high superficial gas Reynolds numbers (Resg >35,000) and laminar superficial liquid Reynolds number (Resl <250) the liquid film exhibits constant relative roughness for a given liquid input. A correlation was derived for superficial gas friction factor as a function of Resl alone. For entrained flow with Resg >35000 and Resl > 250, the film shows relative roughness decreasing as gas rate increases. Another correlation for superficial gas friction factor were derived as a function of both Resl or Resg. Pressure gradients calculated with the new correlations compared well against the experimental database as well as with applicable published data. A third zone (Resg <35,000), close to churn flow regimes, was not amenable to this approach.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Nichol, J., & Kuru, E. (2016). Observations of sub-regimes in vertical annular flow. Proc. 10th North American Conference on Multiphase Technology, 207-216.

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