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The Importance of Online Viscosity Measurement for Leak Detection and Other Simulation Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Daniel W. Nagala, Moncef Boufaida

UTSI International Corporation

Paper No. IPC2004-0479, pp. 2267-2273; 7 pages
  • 2004 International Pipeline Conference
  • 2004 International Pipeline Conference, Volumes 1, 2, and 3
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, October 4–8, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: International Petroleum Technology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4176-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-3737-8
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Knowledge of viscosity is an important property in fluid dynamics because it is a key factor in determining the amount of fluid that can be transported in a pipeline during a specific period of time. Dynamic viscosity, defined as the viscosity measured under force induced flow, not only describes the nature of the fluid but is also useful in predicting the behavior of the shear stress with respect to the rate of the angular deformation of the fluid. The addition of the viscous deceleration component in the linear momentum equation is important in describing the real fluid flow in the pipeline. The two factors producing viscosity are cohension and the rate of transfer of molecular momentum. The Reynolds number, which is based on the viscosity, is an important quantity which engineers use to determine if a flow is laminar or turbulent. Hence viscosity plays a major role in the generation of turbulence. Knowing the viscosity is also essential to improving system performance (volumetric efficiency and mechanical efficiency). Because viscosity typically varies among the different fluids transported in petroleum pipelines, it is widely considered that online measurement can be beneficial to pipeline operations. This is particularly true for complex applications that depend on a real-time fluid mechanics model for leak detection, batch tracking, and power optimization, among others.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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