Velocity field measurements around Taylor bubbles rising in stagnant and upward moving liquids
Gas-liquid, two-phase flow is encountered in a wide variety of industrial equipment. A few examples are steam generators, condensers, oil and gas pipelines, and various components of nuclear reactors. Slug flow is one of the most common and complex flow patterns and it occurs over a broad range of gas and liquid flow rates. In vertical tubes, most of the gas is located in large, bullet-shaped bubbles (Taylor bubbles) which occupy most of the pipe cross section and move with a relatively constant velocity. The objectives of this work are to increase our understanding of slug flow in vertical tubes, to provide reliable data for validation of numerical models developed to predict the behaviour of slug flow, to interpret the behaviour of Taylor bubbles based on knowledge of the velocity field, and to determine the shape of the Taylor bubbles rising in stagnant and upward flowing liquid under various experimental conditions. To achieve these objectives, an experimental facility was designed and constructed to provide instantaneous two-dimensional (2-D) velocity field measurements using particle image velocimetry (PIV) around Taylor bubbles rising in a vertical 25 mm tube containing stagnant or upward moving liquids at Reynolds number based on the superficial liquid velocity (ReL = 250 to 17,800). The working fluids were filtered tap water and mixtures of glycerol and water (µ = 0.0010, 0.0050 and 0.043 Pa•s) and air. Mean axial and radial velocity profiles, axial turbulence intensity profiles, velocity vectors, and streamlines are presented for Taylor bubbles rising in stagnant and upward flowing liquids. The measurements were validated by a mass balance around the nose of the bubble. In stagnant liquids, the size of the primary recirculation zone in the near wake of the Taylor bubble depends on the inverse viscosity. For low viscosity liquid, the length of the primary recirculation zone is 1.23D (D is the tube diameter), for the intermediate viscosity it is 1.2D, and for the high viscosity it is 0.68D. Based on the velocity measurements, the minimum stable liquid slug length (the minimum distance needed to re-establish a fully-developed velocity distribution in the liquid in front of the trailing Taylor bubble) for stagnant cases was found to be in the range of 2~12D. In the flowing liquid, the flow structure of the wake depends on the relative motion between the two phases and the liquid viscosity. The wake is turbulent in all cases except at high viscosity where the wake is transitional. In general, the length of the primary recirculation zone increases with increasing liquid flow rate. For low viscosity cases, in a frame of reference moving at the bubble velocity, the length of the recirculation zone is 1.73D for ReL =9,200 and become essentially constant at 1.90D for ReL ≥ 13,600. For the intermediate viscosity, the length of the recirculation zone is 1.22D for ReL = 1,500. The length of the recirculation zone is increased to 1.34D for ReL = 3,900. For the high viscosity, the length of the recirculation region is elongated to 1.4D for ReL = 260. As the liquid flow rate increases the oscillations of the bottom surface increase and the number of small bubbles shed from the bubble bottom increases. The liquid slug minimum stable length for turbulent upward flowing liquid is around 12D. For laminar flow, the minimum stable length is 10D for ReL = 260 (high viscosity) and > 28D for ReL=1,500 (intermediate viscosity) and depends on the wake flow pattern and the liquid flow rate.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorBugg, J. D.
CommitteeKells, J.; Simonson,, C. J.; Sumner,, D.
Copyright DateSeptember 2013