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Engineering Physics, McMaster University

3O04 Lab

LAB #2

Flow Regime Map for Air-Water Two-Phase Flow in a Horizontal Pipe

by Barry Diacon


It is often convenient to express the results from two-phase flow-pattern studies in terms of a map involving the system parameters. For instance, one might plot a superficial* gas velocity versus the superficial liquid velocity. Mandhane et al [1] carried out a systematic investigation of flow-pattern maps and suggested a map as shown in Figure 2.1 for a horizontal flow, low-pressure system without a large change in the gas density. Mandhane et al showed that the effect of physical properties on flow patterns is not as great as implied in Bakers map[3]. In general, Mandhane's map, combined with a simple understanding of the value of the superficial velocity, is important in predicting the flow pattern inside a pipe. For the design of heat exchangers and nuclear power plants, an understanding of the flow-pattern in a thermal hydraulics system is a very important factor, since the constitutive equations used in a computer simulation significantly depend on the flow patterns. In this project, the flow regime transition is studied experimentally. The method of characterizing flow patterns experimentally is the capacitance transducer method [4].

Figure 2.1: Flow Regime Map. Comparison of theory and

experiment. Water-air, 25C, 1 atm., 2.5 cm. diam., horizontal. Solid lines, )))))), theory; hatched lines, ////////, Mandhane et al. (1974). Regime descriptions as in Mandhane.

2. Flow-Patterns
During horizontal, cocurrent gas/liquid flow in pipes, a variety of flow patterns can exist. Each pattern results from the particular manner in which the liquid and gas distribute themselves in the pipe. Authors differ somewhat in the name they assign to each of the flow patterns; nevertheless, the differences are small and most agree on six flow regimes [1, 2] as shown in Figure 2.2. i. ii. Stratified smooth flow -- liquid flows at the bottom of the pipe and gas at the top. The inter-surface between them is smooth. Stratified wavy flow -- liquid and gas are separated as above, but the interface is wavy.

'superficial' - meaning apparent, net or average.

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Engineering Physics, McMaster University

3O04 Lab
iii. Plug flow -- elongated gas bubbles move downstream along the top part of the tube. They are separated by sections of continuous liquid. iv. Slug flow -- slugs of liquid, separated by gas pockets, move violently downstream. The difference between plug and slug flows is in the degree of agitation of the flow and the height of the liquid film between slugs. v. Annular flow -- the gas flows in the centre of the pipe while a film of the liquid flows annularly around and along the wall of the pipe. Because of gravity, this film is thicker at the bottom than at the top of the pipe.

Figure 2.2: Flow Patterns Apparatus

vi. Dispersed bubble flow -- small dispersed bubbles flow along within a continuous liquid phase. Normally, the bubble density will be somewhat higher at the top than at the bottom of the pipe.

The basic apparatus is shown schematically in Figure 2.3. Water and air are injected into a mixing section at the the end of the pipe. The volume flow rate of the water and air are measured by rotameters. A fully-developed flow is obtained where

z d 70 , where d is the pipe diameter and z is the distance from

the injection point. The flow pattern is characterized by a capacitance transducer [4], located where z d 140 in the system. The schematic of the measurement circuit is shown in Figure 2.4.

Capacitance Transducer Method

The capacitance transducer technique for measuring void fraction employs the fact that the relative dielectric constant of water is approximately 80 times that of air, and 20 times that of plexiglass or lucite. With this large difference in dielectric constant between water and gas, it is possible to determine the thickness of a liquid film or the void fraction of several types of two-phase flow-patterns. Some flow regime characterizations are also possible. A typical capacitance-void fraction characteristic is shown in Figure 2.5 and yields,

g =

C p ( g ) C p ( g = 0) C p ( g = 1) C p ( g = 0)


To calibrate the system, ensure the tube is totally dry -- a void of 1 -- and set the capacitance meter to zero. Use the mirror on the face of the meter to avoid parallax error. Now fill the tube full of water by raising the water flow to the maximum and make sure there is no air flow. Now that the void is 0, measure and record the output capacitance. The extremes of capacitance vis-a-vis void are now clear. When the meter full scale range is set to 1 pF, an indication of 1pF = 1V signal. When the meter full scale range is set to 3 pF, an indication of 3pF = 3V signal.

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Engineering Physics, McMaster University


3O04 Lab

Make note of the minimum and maximum possible values for both liquid and gas flow rates (as shown on the respective rotameters). Set the liquid flow rate, Ql, to the lowest readable level and set the gas flow rate, Qg, to the minimum readable level. Observe and record the response of the capacitance transducer. Observe the flow patterns as seen just upstream from the capacitance transducer. Record the type of flow pattern i.e. stratified smooth, wavy, plug, slug, or dispersed bubbly flow. While the liquid flow rate, Ql, is held constant, set the gas flow rate to a total of 7 values distributed logarithmically between the minimum and maximum possible values. (Keep in mind that the true flow rate of the gas may be less than the rotameter reading due to compression and system impedance.) For each of the combinations of liquid and gas flow rates, record the capacitance transducer response and observe and make note of the flow pattern. The output of the capacitance meter is recorded for, say, 10 seconds using an Analog to Digital Convertor (ADC) in combination with a personal computer. The liquid flow rate, Ql, is now set to a different value and kept constant again for a total of 7 gas flow rates. Once again record the capacitance values and make note of the flow patterns. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for a total of 7 values of Ql distributed logarithmically between the minimum and maximum possible values.





1. Compare the experimental results with existing theoretical and experimental flow-pattern maps (see the references). Discuss the effect of inclination on a flow pattern. Discuss the order of magnitude of the void fraction in the present system.

2. 3.

Figure 2.3: Two-phase experimental apparatus

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Engineering Physics, McMaster University

3O04 Lab

Figure 2.4: Capacitance transducer and associated instruments

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. J.M. Mandhane, G.A. Gregory and K. Aziz, (1974), Int. J. Multiphase Flow 1, 537- 53. Y. Taitel and A.E. Dukler (1976), AICh. E.J., 22, 47-55. O. Baker (1954) Oil and Gas J. 53, 185. M.R. zg, J.C. Chen and. Eberhardt (1973), Rev. Sci. Instrum. 44, 1714-16 G.D. Harvel and J.S. Chang (1995), Ch. 13, Electrostatic Multi-flow Measurement Techniques, in Handbook of Electrostatic Processes, J.S. Chang, A.J. Kelly and J. Crowley, Eds., Marcel Dekker Inc., New York.

Figure 2.5: Typical capacitance output as a function of void fraction (approximated in Eq. 2.1)

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