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Phase Field Method for Simulation of Multiphase Flow

[+] Author Affiliations
Harish Ganapathy, Michael M. Ohadi

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Ebrahim Al-Hajri

The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Paper No. IMECE2011-66279, pp. 1309-1319; 11 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6: Fluids and Thermal Systems; Advances for Process Industries, Parts A and B
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5492-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The present paper reports a comprehensive study on the numerical simulation of Taylor flow in microchannels by the phase field method. Additionally, a comparative study was also performed against an alternative volume of fluid model based on which the phase field method was found to be more advantageous in key aspects such as the absence of unphysical interfacial pressure oscillations and the ability to account for variations in the surface tension force and thus predict several bubble lengths under constant flow conditions while observing the physics of homogeneous two-phase flow. Different bubble formation mechanisms were simulated and compared against experimental findings in literature. The simulation of a thin liquid film at the channel wall was found to be a limitation of most works pertaining to Taylor flow, including the present. This was ascribed to be more likely due to limited dimensional and spatial resolution as well as inaccurate contact angle dynamics rather than limitations of the modeling approach itself. The effect of wall adhesion was studied with respect to the flow and pressure field in the channel. A validation of the model was achieved through a favorable comparison of the numerically predicted gas void fraction and bubble lengths with existing models and correlations. On the whole, the phase field method was concluded to have improved predictive accuracy with respect to certain aspects as compared to conventional multiphase flow models.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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