Simulating multiphase pumps

The research article 'Development of numerical Eulerian-Eulerian models for simulating multiphase pumps' has been published in Elsevier's Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering


Multiphase pumps are now in high demand as a result of undersea wells. The resulting sharp increase in the demand for multiphase pumps has made it necessary to optimize the operating performance of these pumps. The primary shortcoming of multiphase flow transport technology is that the characteristics of the internal flow change according to the gas volume fraction (GVF). This research aimed to establish a numerical analysis method that is used commercial CFD packages to evaluate the multiphase flow with high reliability and proposes a numerical method to investigate the effect of different GVFs on the flow characteristics. An appropriate combination of bubble size, closure interphase force model, and coefficient of force acting on the interface between the water and air phases is important for predicting the performance of the multiphase flow. The reliability of the new numerical analysis method was proven by comparing the numerical and experimental results. A model pump was produced and the structural stability of the prototype was secured through an analysis according to the API610 11th standard (Modal, Pressure Load). The model pump was made by AL7075 and the experiment device is connected with a 150A SUS pipe flange. The error range of the reliability verification of the multi-phase flow was about 0.5–1.5% at the flow rate used in the design. The numerical results obtained for pressure performance generally corresponded to high reliability within the operating range. Advanced computational fluid dynamics based on the three-dimensional steady and unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations were solved to analyze the detailed dynamic flow phenomenon with various GVFs. The effects of various interphase forces acting between the liquid and gas phase such as drag, lift, virtual mass, wall lubrication and turbulent dispersion forces, and the diameter of bubbles in the gas phase on the hydraulic performance were investigated.

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