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Experimental investigation and CFD simulation of horizontal air/water slug flow

Vallee, C.; Höhne, T.; Prasser, H.-M.; Sühnel, T.


For the investigation of air/water slug flow, a horizontal channel with rectangular cross-section was built at Forschungszentrum Rossendorf. The channel allows the investigation of air/water co- and counter-current flows at atmospheric pressure, especially the slug behaviour. Optical measurements were performed with a high-speed video camera, and were complemented by simultaneous dynamic pressure measurements. Moreover velocity-fields were measured using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV).

A CFD simulation of the stratified co-current flow was performed using the code CFX-5, applying the Euler-Euler two fluid model with the free surface option. The grid contains 400000 control volumes. The turbulence was modelled separately for each phase using the k-ω based shear stress transport (SST) turbulence model. To achieve wave generation in such a short channel, the inlet water level had to be varied in time. For this purpose, the water level history was taken from a recorded image sequence and set as time-dependent boundary condition at the model inlet. The results show a wave formation up to slug development with closure of the whole channel cross-section and consequently an increase of the pressure level behind the slug. Despite unsteady conditions at the inlet of the test channel and simplified initial conditions in the model, the slug simulation with CFX is in good qualitative agreement with the experiment, while the slug length increases during its progression, witch was not observed in reality.

Keywords: Horizontal two-phase flow; Slug flow; High-speed video observations; Image processing; PIV; CFD

  • Kerntechnik 71(2006)3, 95-103
    ISSN: 0932-3902