CFD modeling of liquid film reversal of two-phase flow in vertical pipes
Journal of Petroleum Exploration and Production Technology
The phenomenon of two-phase flows is characterized by its wide range of presence in nature and industrial applications. In gas and oil production, the simultaneous two-phase flow of gases and liquids often occurs in gas wells. The produced gases flow rate decreases over the years until reaching a critical flow rate when they lose their ability to lift the associated liquids upward and the liquid film reverses direction, which triggers liquid loading. Liquid loading causes the produced liquids
... produced liquids to accumulate in the bottom of the wellbore, which causes a high back pressure that reduces the well production rate till production is ceased eventually. The critical gas velocity exists in the churn flow regime which is mainly characterized by the oscillatory behavior of the liquids flow field. This study employs CFD techniques to model the churn flow in a 3-inchdiameter vertical pipe near the critical gas flow rate for different liquid flow rates. This work utilizes the two-fluid Eulerian model along with the RNG (Re-Normalization Group) k-ε turbulence model to investigate the behavior of the flow field in a two-dimensional axisymmetric computational domain. Simulations were carried out using the commercial software ANSYS Fluent 18.2 with air and water as the two working fluids. The model results showed a good agreement with the experimental data and proved the mesh and time independence of the model. Oscillatory behaviors of the liquid film flow rate, shear stress, and pressure were observed along with the formation of interfacial waves. Detailed information about the velocity, shear stress, and pressure behaviors is presented. Accordingly, recommendations are suggested for future considerations.