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Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Gas–Liquid Cylindrical Cyclones, Geometrical Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Juan Carlos Berrio, Nicolas Ratkovich

Chemical Engineering Department,
Universidad de los Andes,
Bogota 111711, Colombia

Eduardo Pereyra

McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering,
The University of Tulsa,
Tulsa, OK 74104

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 7, 2017; final manuscript received March 10, 2018; published online April 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Reza Sheikhi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(9), 092003 (Apr 26, 2018) (14 pages) Paper No: JERT-17-1419; doi: 10.1115/1.4039609 History: Received August 07, 2017; Revised March 10, 2018

The gas–liquid cylindrical cyclone (GLCC) is a widely used alternative for gas–liquid conventional separation. Besides its maturity, the effect of some geometrical parameters over its performance is not fully understood. The main objective of this study is to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling in order to evaluate the effect of geometrical modifications in the reduction of liquid carry over (LCO) and gas carry under (GCU). Simulations for two-phase flow were carried out under zero net liquid flow, and the average liquid holdup was compared with Kanshio (Kanshio, S., 2015, “Multiphase Flow in Pipe Cyclonic Separator,” Ph.D. thesis, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK) obtaining root-mean-square errors around 13% between CFD and experimental data. An experimental setup, in which LCO data were acquired, was built in order to validate a CFD model that includes both phases entering to the GLCC. An average discrepancy below 6% was obtained by comparing simulations with experimental data. Once the model was validated, five geometrical variables were tested with CFD. The considered variables correspond to the inlet configuration (location and inclination angle), the effect of dual inlet, and nozzle geometry (diameter and area reduction). Based on the results, the best configuration corresponds to an angle of 27 deg, inlet location 10 cm above the center, a dual inlet with 20 cm of spacing between both legs, a nozzle of 3.5 cm of diameter, and a volute inlet of 15% of pipe area. The combination of these options in the same geometry reduced LCO by 98% with respect to the original case of the experimental setup. Finally, the swirling decay was studied with CFD showing that liquid has a greater impact than the gas flowrate.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the flow loop built at Universidad de los Andes

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Fig. 2

Lateral view, frontal view, and bottom view of the geometry for Kanshio's study case

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Fig. 3

Lateral view, frontal view, and top view of the geometry for the GLCC used at Universidad de los Andes

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Fig. 4

Mesh done for the grid independence test for the case of Kanshio et al.: (a) coarse mesh, (b) normal mesh, and (c) fine mesh

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Fig. 5

Mesh done for the grid independence test for the case of the experimental setup performed at Universidad de los Andes: (a) coarse mesh, (b) normal mesh, and (c) fine mesh

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Fig. 6

Evaluated inclination angles of the tangential inlet: (a) 0 deg, (b) 13 deg, (c) 27 deg, (d) 41 deg, and (e) 55 deg

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Fig. 7

Evaluated heights of the tangential inlet: (a) center, (b) 10 cm above center, (c) 10 cm below center, and (d) 5 cm above center

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Fig. 8

Evaluated configurations for dual inlets: (a) single inlet, (b) dual inlet with 5 cm between both inlets, (c) dual inlet with 7.5 cm between both inlets, and (d) dual inlet with 20 cm between both inlets

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Fig. 9

Evaluated nozzle configurations: (a) without nozzle, (b) nozzle of 7 mm of diameter, (c) nozzle of 3.5 mm of diameter, and (d) nozzle of 1.75 mm of diameter

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Fig. 10

Evaluated configurations of the volute inlet with rectangular slot: (a) without volute inlet, (b) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (9.62 mm of height and 4 mm of width), (c) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (19.24 mm of height and 2 mm of width), (d) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (4 mm of height and 9.62 mm of width), and (e) volute inlet of 15% of pipe area (6.597 mm of height and 3.5 mm of width)

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Fig. 11

Results obtained for a coarse mesh and an inlet gas velocity of 0.55 m/s

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Fig. 12

Results for the grid independence test and the comparison of the results using a sharpening factor of 0 and 1

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Fig. 13

Results for liquid holdup under zero-net liquid flow

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Fig. 14

Image on the left side represents the scalar field of the volume fraction of air and image on the right side represents the streamlines from the CFD results

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Fig. 15

Liquid carry over and GCU results for the evaluated inclination angles of the tangential inlet: (a) 0 deg, (b) 13 deg, (c) 27 deg, (d) 41 deg, and (e) 55 deg

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Fig. 16

Liquid carry over and GCU results for the evaluated heights of the tangential inlet: (a) 10 cm below center, (b) center, (c) 5 cm above center, and (d) 10 cm above center

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Fig. 17

Liquid carry over and GCU results for the evaluated configurations for dual inlets: (a) single inlet, (b) dual inlet with 5 cm between both inlets, (c) dual inlet with 7.5 cm between both inlets, and (d) dual inlet with 20 cm between both inlets

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Fig. 18

Liquid carry over and GCU results for the evaluated nozzle configurations: (a) without nozzle, (b) nozzle of 7 mm of diameter, (c) nozzle of 3.5 mm of diameter, and (d) nozzle of 1.75 mm of diameter

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Fig. 19

Liquid carry over and GCU results for the evaluated configurations of the volute inlet with rectangular slot: (a) without volute inlet, (b) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (9.62 mm of height and 4 mm of width), (c) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (19.24 mm of height and 2 mm of width), (d) volute inlet of 25% of pipe area (4 mm of height and 9.62 mm of width), and (e) volute inlet of 15% of pipe area (6.597 mm of height and 3.5 mm of width)

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Fig. 20

Geometry for the case that combines the best option of the geometrical variables evaluated

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Fig. 21

Swirling flow in the GLCC visualized in velocity vector plots at planes below the inlet located at (a) −5 cm, (b) −10 cm, (c) −15 cm, (d) −20 cm, (e) −25 cm, and (f) −30 cm for inlet velocities of VsG=0.66 m/s and VsL=0.066 m/s

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Fig. 22

Swirling flow in the GLCC visualized in velocity vector plots at planes below the inlet located at (a) −5 cm, (b) −10 cm, and (c) −15 cm for inlet velocities of VsG=0.33 m/s and VsL=0.033 m/s

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Fig. 23

Swirling flow in the GLCC visualized in velocity vector plots at planes below the inlet located at (a) −5 cm, (b) −10 c, (c) −15 cm, (d) −20 cm, (e) −25 cm, and (f) −30 cm for inlet velocities of VsG=0.066 m/s and VsL=0.066 m/s

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Fig. 24

Swirling flow in the GLCC visualized in velocity vector plots at planes below the inlet located at (a) −5 cm, (b) −10 cm, and (c) −15 cm for inlet velocities of VsG=0.16 m/s and VsL=0.016 m/s

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