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Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of critical velocity for sand transport flow regimes in multiphase pipe bends.

Tebowei, Roland


Roland Tebowei



The production and transportation of hydrocarbon fluids in multiphase pipelines could be severely hindered by particulate solids deposit - such as the sand particles that can accompany hydrocarbon production. Knowledge of the flow characteristics of solid particles in fluids when transported in pipelines is important, in order to accurately predict solid particle deposition in pipelines. This thesis presents the development of a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling technique for the prediction of liquid-solids multiphase flow in pipes, with special emphasis on the flow in V-inclined pipe bends. The Euler-Euler (two-fluid) multiphase modelling methodology has been adopted, and the multiphase model equations and closure models describing the liquid-solids flow have been implemented and calculated using the finite volume method in a CFD code software. The liquid phase turbulence has been modelled using a two-equation k - epsilon turbulence model, which contains additional terms to account for the effects of the solid-particles phase on the multiphase turbulence structure. The developed CFD numerical framework has been verified for the relevant forces and all the possible interaction mechanisms of the liquid-solids multiphase flow by investigating four different numerical frameworks, in order to determine the optimum numerical framework that both captures the underlying physics and that also covers the interaction mechanisms leading to sand deposition, and the range of sand transport flow regimes in pipes. The flow of liquid-sand in pipe has been studied extensively, and the numerical results of sand concentration distribution across pipe and other flow properties are in good agreement with published experimental data on validation. The numerical framework has been employed to investigate the multiphase flow in V-inclined pipe bends of ± 4 to 6 degrees, seemingly small inclined bend angles. The predicted results - including the sand segregation, deposition velocity and flow turbulence modulation in the pipe bend - show that the seemingly small pipe bends have a significant effect on the flow, which is different to that of horizontal pipes. The pipe bend causes an abrupt local change in the multiphase flow characteristic and formation of stationary sand deposits in the pipe at a relatively high flow velocity. The threshold velocity to keep sand entrained in liquid in pipe bends is significantly higher than that required for flow horizontal pipes. A critical implication of this is that the correlations for predicting sand deposition in pipelines must account for the effect of pipe bend on flow characteristics in order to provide accurate predictions of the critical sand transport velocity (MTV) in subsea petroleum flowlines, where V-inclined pipe bends are inevitable due to seabed topology.


TEBOWEI, R. 2016. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of critical velocity for sand transport flow regimes in multiphase pipe bends. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2017
Keywords Sand transport flow regimes; Sand concentration profile; CFD modelling; V-pipe bend effect stationary sand deposit; Minimum transport velocity; Turbulence modelling; Multiphase flow; Eulerian granular model; Petroleum flowlines
Public URL
Award Date Sep 30, 2016


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