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  Eyitayo Afolabi

Postgraduate Student
 
       
 

CFD simulation of Hydrocyclones for Use in Oil Wells

 

Today, cyclones are recognised as an effective and economical alternative to conventional gravity separators in the Petroleum and Chemical industries. Cyclones are simple to fabricate, have low operating costs and are robust with no moving parts.  However the flow within the cylindrical cyclone is turbulent, highly anisotropic and for three phase flow, poorly understood. 

 

The aim of this project is build a 30 mm diameter laboratory based test facility of the Gas- Liquid-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone separator in order to investigate the hydrodynamic flow field and phase separation of a air-water –oil mixture within the cyclone.

 

In this project, Stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry (S-PIV) will be used to capture the unsteady and highly three-dimensional flow field within the cyclone. The S-PIV measurements of water flow and multiphase flow at different flow rates and volume fractions along six illuminated planes of the cyclone will be recorded, processed and reconstructed to obtain the 3-D displacement fields from which the mean velocity fields and turbulence quantities can be extracted.

 

In addition ANSYS FLUENT CFD code will be used to predict the single phase water flow. The results from this simulation will be validated using S-PIV measurements . The next step will be to simulate the flow of air and water the Eulerian model for the water-air mixture. Velocity distribution profiles and turbulence quantities across the cyclone diameter at different axial locations from the numerical simulation will then be validated with S-PIV measurements. Finally the flow of water, air and oil will be simulated using a combination of the RSM model for the turbulence, the Eulerian model for the water-air mixture and the Discrete Phase Model (DPM) for the oil droplets.

 

Since turbulence inside the cyclone determines the separation of the multiphase flow, results from this work will be of great importance in optimizing the cyclone design for better and efficient separation.

 

For more information please contact Dr Jon Lee.

 

 

 

 Last modified: 02-Jun-2017