Large diameter pipes and elbows are vastly used in industry especially in mining and oil and gas production. Solid particle erosion is a common issue in these pipelines, and it is important to predict it to avoid failures. Currently, laboratory experiments reported in the literature are limited to diameters less than 4 inches. Therefore, there is not much experimental data available for large diameter elbows. However, the erosion can be predicted by CFD simulations and applying erosion equations in such elbows. The goal of this project is to examine the effects of elbow diameter and Stokes number on erosion patterns and magnitude for various flow conditions for elbow diameters of 2, 4, 8, and 12 inches.
The approach of this work is to first perform CFD simulations of liquid-solid and gas-solid flows in 2-inch and 4-inch elbows, respectively, and evaluate the results by available experimental data. Then CFD simulations are carried for 2, 4, 8, and 12-inch standard elbows for various Stokes numbers corresponding to gas dominant flows with the velocity of 30 m/s, and liquid dominant flows with the velocities of 6 m/s. For gas dominant flows erosion in air and for liquid dominant flows erosion in water is investigated. All these simulations are carried for four particle sizes of 25, 75, 150, and 300 microns. The results indicate that Stokes number and diameter of elbows have significant effects on erosion patterns as well as magnitudes in this geometry.
This work will have various applications, including validating mechanistic models of erosion predictions in elbows and developing an Artificial Intelligence (machine learning) algorithm to predict erosion for various flow conditions. Such algorithms are limited to the range of conditions they are trained for. Therefore, it is important to expand the database these codes are accessing. Overall, the CFD database of large diameter elbows will reduce the computational costs in the future.