Experimental Study and CFD Modelling of a Two-Phase Slug Flow for an Airlift Tubular Membrane
Publikation: Forskning - peer review › Tidsskriftartikel
The aim of the present study was to develop a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model to study the effect of slug flow on the surface shear stress in a vertical tubular membrane. The model was validated using: (1) surface shear stresses, measured using an electrochemical shear probe and (2) gas slug (Taylor bubble) rising velocities, measured using a high speed camera. The length of the gas slugs and, therefore, the duration of a shear event, was observed to vary substantially due to the coalescing of gas slugs as they travelled up the tube. However, the magnitude of the peak surface shear stress during a shear event was not observed to vary significantly. The experimental conditions significantly affected the extent to which the gas slugs coalesced. More coalescing between gas slugs was typically observed for the experiments performed with higher gas flow rates and lower liquid flow rates. Therefore, the results imply that the frequency of shear events decreases at higher gas flow rates and lower liquid flow rates. Shear stress histograms (SSH) were used as a simple approach to compare the different experimental conditions investigated. All conditions resulted in bi-modal distributions: a positive surface shear peak, caused by the liquid slug, and a negative shear peak caused by the gas slugs. At high gas flow rates and at low liquid flow rates, the frequency of the shear stresses in both the negative and positive peaks were more evenly distributed. For all cases, increasing the liquid flow rate and decreasing the gas flow rate tends to result in a predominant positive peak. These results are of importance since conditions that promote evenly distributed positive and negative peaks, are likely to promote better fouling control in membrane system. At high liquid and low gas flow rates, the frequencies obtained numerically and experimentally were found to be similar, deviating by less than approximately 10%. However, at high gas and low liquid flow rates, the differences were slightly higher, exceeding 20%. Under these conditions, the CFD model simulations over predicted the shear stresses induced by gas slugs. Nonetheless, the results indicate that the CFD model was able to accurately simulate shear stresses induced by gas slugs for conditions of high liquid and low gas flow rates.