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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

Ultrasonic Measurement of Multiphase Flow Erosion Patterns in a Standard Elbow

[+] Author and Article Information
N. R. Kesana

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104
e-mail: nrk301@utulsa.edu

S. A. Grubb

ConocoPhillips - Technology,
600 North Dairy Ashford,
Houston, TX 77079-1175
e-mail: scott.a.grubb@conocophillips.com

B. S. McLaury

e-mail: brenton-mclaury@utulsa.edu

S. A. Shirazi

e-mail: siamack-shirazi@utulsa.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 19, 2012; final manuscript received December 6, 2012; published online May 24, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Christopher J. Wajnikonis.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 135(3), 032905 (May 24, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-12-1136; doi: 10.1115/1.4023331 History: Received June 19, 2012; Revised December 06, 2012

Solid particle erosion is a mechanical process in which material is removed from a surface due to impacts of solid particles transported within a fluid. It is a common problem faced by the petroleum industry, as solid particles are also produced along with oil and gas. The erosion not only causes economic losses resulting from repairs and decreased production but also causes safety and environmental concerns. Therefore, the metal losses occurring in different multiphase flow regimes need to be studied and understood in order to develop protective guidelines for oil and gas production equipment. In the current study, a novel noninvasive ultrasonic (UT) device has been developed and implemented to measure the metal loss at 16 different locations inside an elbow. Initially, experiments were performed with a single-phase carrier fluid (gas-sand) moving in the pipeline, and the erosion magnitudes are compared with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results and found to be in good agreement. Next, experiments were extended to the multiphase slug flow regime. Influence of particle diameter and liquid viscosity were also studied. Two different particle sizes (150 and 300 μm sand) were used for performing tests. The shapes of the sand are also different with the 300 μm sand being sharper than the 150 μm sand. Three different liquid viscosities were used for the present study (1 cP, 10 cP, and 40 cP). While performing the UT experiments, simultaneous metal loss measurements were also made using an intrusive electrical resistance (ER) probe in a section of straight pipe. The probe in the straight pipe is an angle-head probe which protrudes into the flow with the face placed in the center of the pipe. The UT erosion measurements in a bend are also compared with experimental data obtained placing an intrusive flat head ER probe flush in a bend, and the results were found to be in good agreement. Finally, the noninvasive nano UT permanent placement temperature compensated ultrasonic wall thickness device developed for this work has the capability of measuring metal loss at many locations and also identifying the maximum erosive location on the pipe bend.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Stainless steel elbow failure as the result of erosion in multiphase flow

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Fig. 2

Schematic of the slug unit (note: figure is not to scale)

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Fig. 3

Schematic of the experimental facility

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Fig. 4

Scanning electron microscopic image of California 60 sand particles

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Fig. 5

Scanning electron microscopic image of the Oklahoma#1 sand particles

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Fig. 6

Component view of dual element ultrasonic transducer

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Fig. 7

Temperature profiles for single-phase (gas-sand) erosion experiments

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Fig. 8

Temperature profiles for multiphase slug (gas-liquid-sand) erosion experiments

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Fig. 9

Picture showing the location of the transducers on the standard 3-in. elbow when attached to the testing section

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Fig. 10

Erosion shown in mm per year (mm/y) for a single phase (gas + sand) experiment using 150 μm sand at a gas velocity of 33.5 m/s and sand rate of 68 g/min for an experimental runtime of 4 h

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Fig. 11

Erosion shown in mm per year (mm/y) for a single phase (gas + sand) experiment using 150 μm sand at a gas velocity of 32.9 m/s and sand rate of 69 g/min for an experimental runtime of 3 h 45 min

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Fig. 12

Erosion shown in mm per year (mm/y) for a single phase (gas + sand) experiment using 150 μm sand at a gas velocity of 28.9 m/s and sand rate of 69.6 g/min for an experimental runtime of 3 h

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Fig. 13

Comparison of CFD erosion predictions to the UT measurements for gas-sand flows

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Fig. 14

Erosion pattern for 150 μm particle size with superficial gas and liquid velocities of 35.6 m/s and 0.7 m/s and liquid viscosity of 1 cP with an experimental run time of 5.4 h (erosion is shown in mm/y, exp date: Aug. 2, 2011)

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Fig. 15

Erosion pattern for 150 μm particle size with superficial gas and liquid velocities of 35.6 m/s and 0.8 m/s and liquid viscosity of 1 cP with an experimental run time of 5.4 h (erosion is shown in mm/y, exp date: July 29, 2011)

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Fig. 16

Comparing magnitudes of erosion measured by transducers numbered 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12 for the experiments conducted July 29, 2011 and Aug. 2, 2011 (nearly similar operating conditions in slug flow)

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Fig. 17

Erosion pattern for 300 μm particle size with superficial gas and liquid velocities of 33.5 m/s and 0.9 m/s and liquid viscosity of 1 cP for experimental run time of 5 h (erosion is shown in mm/y)

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Fig. 18

Erosion pattern for 300 μm particle size with superficial gas and liquid velocities of 35.6 m/s and 0.7 m/s and liquid viscosity of 10 cP for experimental run time of 6.5 h (erosion is shown in mm/y)

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Fig. 19

Erosion pattern for 300 μm particle size with superficial gas and liquid velocities of 35 m/s and 0.7 m/s and liquid viscosity of 40.5 cP for experimental run time of 6.5 h (erosion is Shown in mm/y)

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Fig. 20

Liquid viscosity effect on erosion in slug flow

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Fig. 21

Comparison of erosion magnitudes at variety of operating conditions in a slug flow regime using a flat head ER probe and the ultrasonic transducer mounted at 45 deg to the bend

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Fig. 22

Erosion magnitudes comparison between UT maximum erosion and the erosion measured using the angle-head probe mounted in the straight pipe section in slug flow regime under variety of operating conditions and particle sizes

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