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3-D Transient CFD Modeling of Pig Motion

[+] Author Affiliations
Diego Jaimes Parilli, Nelson Loaiza, Janneth García, Armando Blanco

Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela

Paper No. IPC2016-64355, pp. V003T04A007; 10 pages
  • 2016 11th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 3: Operations, Monitoring and Maintenance; Materials and Joining
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 26–30, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5027-5
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Pigging operations are common procedures for pipeline maintenance. However, questions still remain about pig dynamics due to the difficulties to accurately describe this complex phenomenon. Consequently, most predictions of pig dynamics are based on empirical knowledge deduced from experimental data and numerical models developed considering simplified physical models, without calculate transient pig-flow interaction and neglecting 3D aspect of flow dynamics. Therefore, to present an actual 3D transient model, this paper proposes a novel CFD methodology using a static mesh in a moving control volume. Forces acting on the pig are dynamically computed by a Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) approach; pig velocity is obtained for each time instant and it is set as a variable boundary condition. This method was validated with experimental results and it may be used to describe a wide range of rigid body motion immerse in a flow. This approach is then utilized to obtain the transient simulation of a pig launch in a straight water pipeline. Numerical predictions of the static grid method were compared with those obtained using moving mesh simulations. Results show that the pig reaches a terminal velocity higher than average flow velocity and a huge difference on predictions of maximum pressure drop (through the pig) between steady state based models and transient models. Additionally, it was simulated a 2D model to observe the differences between 2D and 3D simulations on the flow characteristics and pig motion features, which shows an important increase of the pressure drop on 3D model over 2D and high pig acceleration in the 3D simulation.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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