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www.elsevier.com/locate/flowmeasinst

of dissolved gases

T. Elperin , A. Fominykh, M. Klochko

The Pearlstone Center for Aeronautical Engineering Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O.

Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel

Received 1 June 2001; received in revised form 20 August 2001; accepted 13 March 2002

Abstract

A model of release of the gas dissolved in the liquid phase during two-phase flow through a Venturi tube is proposed. Using

several simplifying assumptions, the analytical solution for a proposed model for the pressure drop is obtained. This solution can

be used for estimating the flow conditions at which the contribution of the pressure drop due to the gas release is significant compared

with that due to the flow acceleration. The dimensionless parameters appearing in the solution can be used for interpretation of

the experimental data on gases flashing during flows through differential pressure devices and other flow constrictions. 2002

Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Venturi meter; Two-phase flow; Gas release; Mass transfer

1. Introduction

The accurate measurement of the flow rates of multiphase fluids in the petroleum industry is of great importance for reservoir production management. The most

reliable measurement technique for multiphase flow is

mixture separation and use of conventional single-phase

measuring devices. However, in many cases the separation is not practical from both technical and economical

points of view. An alternative solution is the multiphase

flow metering system. Usually, such a system consists

of a combination of devices for phase fraction measurement and phase velocity measurement. The former uses

the essential difference of some physical property of the

phases in deriving the mixture composition, and they are

unique for multiphase measuring techniques. The velocity measurement in multiphase flows is often performed

by means of conventional single-phase flow devices

complemented with an appropriate two-phase flow

model.

A survey of existing solutions in multiphase flow met-

E-mail address: elperin@menix.bgu.ac.il (T. Elperin).

that the Venturi meter is frequently used for the velocity

measurement of the mixture. This choice can be

explained by its simple design, low cost and relatively

high accuracy achievable in measuring differential pressure. Considering the great technical importance as well

as pure scientific interest, two-phase flow through Venturi tubes has been widely studied both experimentally

and theoretically (Carofano and McManus [2], Wallis

and Sullivan [14], Thang and Davis [12], Martindale and

Smith [9], Lewis and Davidson [7], Lemonnier and

Selmer-Olsen [6], Ishii et al. [4]). There are also several

reports in the literature on the successful application of

differential pressure devices, in particular Venturi meters, in measuring gasliquid flows (see, e.g., Reimann

et al. [11], Moura and Marvillet [10], Abdul-Razzak et

al. [1]).

Considering the application of differential pressure

devices in the petroleum industry, it should be kept in

mind that the oilgas two-phase mixture is a complex

multi-component system that is usually treated as a

binary saturated mixture. When such a mixture

undergoes fast depressurization, like significant pressure

decrease in a Venturi meter, flashing of gases dissolved

in the liquid phase occurs. Taking into account the high

degree of dissolution of the natural gases in oil, the

0955-5986/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 9 5 5 - 5 9 8 6 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 1 3 - 4

14

release of the gases may significantly increase the volumetric flow rate of the mixture. Moreover, the mass

transfer changes the momentum transfer between the

phases. Both effects will give rise to the pressure drop

with subsequent incorrect interpretation of the flow

meter readings unless the effects of the dissolved gas

release are allowed for. The aim of the present study is

to qualitatively investigate the two-phase flow through

a Venturi meter in the presence of dissolved in liquid

gas, and to obtain a criterion indicating when the gas

release should be taken into account in the measurement process.

2. Basic equations

In the most general form, the motion of one-dimensional two-phase flow can be described using the twofluid model, when the single-phase flow theory is applied

to each phase separately. The governing equations are

as follows:

Continuity equation for phase i (i G, L):

d

(r a u A) ij

dz i i i

(1)

and

Momentum conservation equation:

dp

dui

riui rigcos(g,z) fi,

dz

dz

(2)

ai and ui are density, holdup and velocity of phase i,

respectively, ij is the mass flux from phase i to phase

j at the channel section of area A and LG GL

m

A, fi denotes the force of interaction between phases

and friction forces. Eqs. (1) and (2) have to be complemented with closure relationships for gas void fraction

a, interface and wall friction forces fi, and volumetric

mass transfer rate m

.

Given the concentration C of the dissolved in liquid

gas, the volumetric mass transfer rate is

m

kLa(CCp),

(3)

is the specific interfacial area and Cp is the equilibrium

concentration of the dissolved gas at pressure p, which

is assumed to be a linear function of pressure:

Cp Hp.

(4)

nucleation in Eq. (3), since it is unlikely that during the

flow through the Venturi meter the concentration difference will reach the nucleation limit.

The mass balance for the control volume of liquid

dissolved gas:

dC

(1a)uL m

.

dz

(5)

that the value of mass transfer and, consequently, the

degree of its influence on two-phase flow is higher in

flows with low gas void fraction, when the most likely

regime is bubbly flow. Hence, the assumption of homogeneous flow, i.e. uL uG, can be accepted for the

investigation of flows with dissolved gases. We also neglect the friction forces and gravitational pressure drop

since at high velocities, when the gas release is significant, they are negligible compared with the flow acceleration.

Combining continuity and momentum conservation

equations for both phases and using the aforementioned

assumptions, we obtained the following system of two

dimensionless equations

dP

1 dA

2U2

2NCNMUC

dZ

AdZ

d(C)

NM

1 dP

C

dZ

(1a)U

EudZ

(6)

where P (p0p) / 1 / 2rmu20 is the dimensionless pressure difference, Z z / D0 is the distance, A (D / D0)2

is the cross-sectional area, U u / u0 is the mixture velocity, and C (CCp) / Cp0 is the concentration difference normalized by the saturation concentration at inlet

conditions. The dimensionless parameters in Eq. (6) are

the Euler number, Eu P0 / 1 / 2rmu20; the ratio of gas

concentrations in liquid and gaseous phases, NC

Cp0 / rG; the dimensionless volumetric mass transfer

coefficient, NM D0kLa / u0; and rm stands for the mixture homogeneous density, rm arG (1a)rL. The

initial conditions for the system described by Eq. (6) are

C0 0, P0 0.

The first approximation to the solution of the system

described by Eqs. (6) can be obtained by observing that

the second term on the right-hand side (RHS) of the first

equation, i.e., the pressure drop due to gas release, is

much smaller than the pressure drop due to acceleration.

Thus, it is possible to solve for the concentration difference using the initial approximation for the pressure

drop P 11 / A2 and assuming that the mass transfer

coefficient and gas void fraction remain nearly constant

during the flow. This yields

1 dA

2

exp[b(h)b(Z)] 3 dh,

C(Z)

Eu

A dh

0

where

(7)

b(Z)

NM

A(Z)dZ.

1a

(8)

For the general shape of the profile A(Z) the concentration difference along the Venturi is represented by an

incomplete gamma function. However, in the particulate

case A (1 KZ) 1, where coefficient K is determined by the Venturi outlet to inlet area ratio, Eq. (7) can

be integrated analytically to yield

C

NM

2

2

Eu

(1a)K

NM

A2A(1a)K .

(9)

pressure drop through the Venturi tube for flows of low

gas void fraction is

P (1b1)

4NMNC 2

(b 2b4 1),

EuK

(10)

term on the RHS represents the acceleration pressure

drop, Pa, and the second is the pressure drop due to

the gas release, PM. The solution in Eq. (10) is valid

while PM / Pa1. The same condition can be used as

the estimate of the gas release influence on the Venturi

meter performance:

PM 4NMNC

(1 2b2).

Pa

EuK

15

the surface tension (dynes/cm2), mL is the liquid phase

dynamic viscosity (cP) and D0 is the tube diameter (in.).

The two-phase friction pressure drop (dp/dz)TPf is calculated using the LockhartMartinelli correlation [8]:

1

C

(dp / dz)TPf

1 2,

(dp / dz)Lf

X X

(13)

(dp/dz)Lf for the liquid flowing alone to that for the gaseous phase, (dp/dz)Gf. The value of the coefficient C

depends on flow regime (turbulent or laminar) of each

phase, e.g. for turbulentturbulent flow C 20.

The results of the model evaluation for three different

values of the initial gas void fractions are presented in

Fig. 1. It can be seen that at velocities of the order 3

m/s the relative magnitude of the pressure drop due to

the release of the dissolved gas is of the order of 1%,

and in flows with a low gas void fraction it exhibits fast

growth with the flow velocity, with little dependence on

the mixture composition. Although this model was

developed assuming a low void fraction we also applied

it to the flow with a high void fraction, a 0.5. The

result, anticipated by virtue of Eq. (5), confirms that the

effect of gas release on high void fraction flows is much

weaker than in the case of low void fraction.

(11)

4. Conclusions

the same mixture, the effect of the gas release grows

approximately as the inlet mixture velocity squared.

3. Model evaluation

flows in the presence of dissolved gases in the liquid

phase demonstrates the importance of allowing for the

gas release when pressure drop devices are used for twophase flow measurements. It has been shown that even

can be estimated by applying the developed model to a

real system. For this purpose we chose the mixture of

black oil (stock tank gravity 40.5 API) and natural gas

(specific gravity 0.786 at 100 psig and 297 K) flowing

through a 3 Venturi meter of standard configuration (

K 1, b 1 / 4) at an initial pressure of 10 bar. The

properties of the fluids are specified in Danesh [3]. The

amount of gas dissolved in the liquid is given by a gas

to oil ratio (GOR) of 770 SCF/STB at a pressure of 10

bar. This corresponds to an initial saturation concentration Cp0 123 kg / m3. Since no data are available on

the mass transfer coefficient of oilgas mixtures we

adopted here the correlation based on the dissipation

rate e (dp / dz)TPf(UG UL) (Jepsen [5]):

kLaD0.5

s0.5m0.5

D0.68

3.47e0.4,

L

L

0

0.5

L

kLaD

0.5 0.5

L

18.75e

0.79

e 0.05atm / s

,

e0.05atm / s

(12)

dissolved gas.

16

at moderate velocities the correction for this phenomenon can be of the order of several percent.

Although the model was developed using several simplifying assumptions which are not always valid in real

flows, there are still several applications in which the

solution obtained can be used. First, it can be employed

to estimate the limit when the models used in the metering process should be allowed for the effect of the gas

release. Such an estimation will be reliable for bubbly

flows where the assumptions of low void fraction and

flow homogeneity hold. It has also been shown that the

effect of gas release in flows with high void fraction is

minor. Further, the non-dimensional parameters, NC and

NM, appearing in the solution [Eq. (11)] can be used for

correlating the experimental data and developing the corrections for use in multiphase flow metering.

Acknowledgements

This study was partially supported by Agar Corporation (Houston, TX, USA).

References

[1] A. Abdul-Razzak, M. Shoukri, J.S. Chang, Measurement of twophase refrigerant liquidvapor mass flow rate, parts IIII, ASHRAE Transactions 101 (1995) 511538.

[2] G.C. Carofano, H.N. McManus, An analytical and experimental

study of the flow of airwater and steamwater mixtures in a

convergingdiverging nozzle, Progress in Heat and Mass Transfer 2 (1969) 395417.

Fluids, in: Elsevier, 1998.

[4] R. Ishii, Y. Umeda, S. Murata, N. Shishida, Bubbly flows through

a convergingdiverging nozzle, Physics of Fluids 5 (1993)

16301643.

[5] J.C. Jepsen, Mass transfer in two-phase flow in horizontal pipelines, AIChE Journal 16 (1970) 705711.

[6] H. Lemonnier, S. Selmer-Olsen, Experimental investigation and

physical modeling of two-phase two-component flow in a convergingdiverging nozzle, International Journal of Multiphase

Flow 18 (1992) 120.

[7] D.A. Lewis, J.F. Davidson, Pressure drop for bubbly gasliquid

flow through orifice plates and nozzles, Chemical Engineering

Research and Design 63 (1985) 149156.

[8] R.W. Lockhart, R.C. Martinelli, Proposed correlation of data for

isothermal two-phase two-component flow in pipes, Chemical

Engineering Progress 45 (1949) 3948.

[9] W.R. Martindale, R.V. Smith, Separated two-phase flow in a

nozzle, International Journal of Multiphase Flow 8 (1982) 217

226.

[10] L.F.M. Moura, C. Marvillet, Measurement of two-phase mass

flow rate and quality using Venturi and void fraction meters, Proceedings of the 1997 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Dallas, TX, USA (special issue),

Fluids Engineering Division, FED 244 (1997) 363368.

[11] J. Reimann, H. John, R. Frank, Measurement of mass flow rate

and quality with a Venturi nozzle and a turbine meter in steam

water flow, in: Transient two-phase flow, Proceedings of the

Third CSNI Specialist Meeting, Pasadena, CA, USA, 2325

March 1981, Transient Two-Phase Flow, Hemisphere Publishing

Corporation, 1983, pp. 7184.

[12] N.T. Thang, M.R. Davis, The structure of bubbly flow through

Venturis, International Journal of Multiphase Flow 5 (1979)

1737.

[13] R. Thorn, G.A. Johansen, E.A. Hammer, Recent developments

in three-phase flow measurement, Measurement Science and

Technology 8 (1997) 691701.

[14] G.B. Wallis, D.A. Sullivan, Two-phase airwater nozzle flow,

Journal of Basic Engineering 94 (1972) 788794.

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