Numerical Simulation of the Gas-Liquid Flow in a Rotary Gas Separator

[+] Author and Article Information
G. Lackner, F. J. S. Alhanati, S. A. Shirazi, D. R. Doty, Z. Schmidt

The University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104

J. Energy Resour. Technol 120(1), 41-48 (Mar 01, 1998) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2795008 History: Received August 25, 1997; Revised November 25, 1997; Online November 06, 2007


The presence of free gas at the pump intake adversely affects the performance of an electrical submersible pump (ESP) system, often resulting in low efficiency and causing operational problems. One method of reducing the amount of free gas that the pump has to process is to install a rotary gas separator. The gas-liquid flow associated with the down hole installation of a rotary separator has been investigated to address its overall phase segregation performance. A mathematical model was developed to investigate factors contributing to gas-liquid separation and to determine the efficiency of the separator. The drift-flux approach was used to formulate this complex two-phase flow problem. The turbulent diffusivity was modeled by a two-layer mixing-length model and the relative velocity between phases was formulated based on published correlations for flows with similar characteristics. The well-known numerical procedure of Patankar-Spalding for single-phase flow computations was extended to this two-phase flow situation. Special discretization techniques were developed to obtain consistent results. Special under relaxation procedures were also developed to keep the gas void fraction in the interval [0, 1]. Predicted mixture velocity vectors and gas void fraction distribution for the two-phase flow inside the centrifuge are presented. The model’s predictions are compared to data gathered on a field scale experimental facility to support its invaluable capabilities as a design tool for ESP installations.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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