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Avoiding Pitfalls in Multiphase Thermo-Hydrodynamic Coupling

[+] Author Affiliations
Luis F. Ayala, Eltohami S. Eltohami, Michael A. Adewumi

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Paper No. ETCE2002/PROD-29120, pp. 847-855; 9 pages
  • ASME 2002 Engineering Technology Conference on Energy
  • Engineering Technology Conference on Energy, Parts A and B
  • Houston, Texas, USA, February 4–5, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Petroleum Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3591-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Multiphase flow is prevalent in many industrial processes. Therefore, accurate and efficient modeling of multiphase flow is essential to the understanding of these processes as well as the development of technologies to handle and manage them. In the petroleum industry, the occurrence and consequence thereof associated with such hydrodynamic processes are encountered in offshore facilities, surface facilities as well as reservoir applications. In this paper, we consider the modeling of these processes with special consideration to the transport of petroleum products through pipelines. Multiphase hydrodynamic modeling is usually a trade-off between maximizing the accuracy level while minimizing the computational time required. The most fundamental modeling effort developed to achieve this goal is based on applying simplifications to the basic physical laws, as defined by continuum mechanics, governing these processes. However, the modeling of multiphase flow processes requires the coupling of these basic laws with a thermodynamic phase behavior model. This paper highlights the impact of the techniques used to computationally couple the system’s thermodynamics with its fluid mechanics while paying close attention to the trade off mentioned above. It will consider the consequences of the simplifications applied, as well as inherent deficiencies associated with such simplifications. Special consideration is given to the conservation of mass as well as the terms that govern its transfer between the phases. Furthermore, the implications related to the common simplification of isothermal conditions are studied, highlighting the loss of accuracy in the material balance associated with this computational time-saving assumption. This paper concludes by suggesting remedies to these problems, supported by results, showing considerable improvement in fulfilling both the basic constrains which are minimizing time and maximizing accuracy.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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