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
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
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.