Experimental study on oil-water flow in horizontal and slightly inclined pipes
Oil-water two-phase flow experiments were conducted in a 15 m long, 8.28 cm diameter, inclinable steel pipe using mineral oil (density of 830 kg/m 3 and viscosity of 7.5 mPa s) and brine (density of 1060 kg/m 3 and viscosity of 0.8 mPa s). Steady-state data on flow patterns, two-phase pressure gradient and holdup were obtained over the entire range of flow rates for pipe inclinations of -5°, -2°, -1.5°, 0°, 1°, 2° and 5°. The characterization of flow patterns and identification of their boundaries was achieved via observation of recorded movies and by analysis of the relative deviation from the homogeneous behavior. A stratified wavy flow pattern with no mixing at the interface was identified in downward and upward flow. Two gamma-ray densitometers allowed for accurate measurement of the absolute in situ volumetric fraction (holdup) of each phase for all flow patterns. Extensive results of holdup and two-phase pressure gradient as a function of the superficial velocities, flow pattern and inclinations are reported. The new experimental data are compared with results of a flow pattern dependent prediction model, which uses the area-averaged steady-state two-fluid model for stratified flow and the homogeneous model for dispersed flow. Prediction accuracies for oil/water holdups and pressure gradients are presented as function of pipe inclination for all flow patterns observed. There is scope for improvement for in particular dual-continuous flow patterns.