Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering http://pie.sagepub.


Acoustic Emission and Gas-Phase Measurements in Two-Phase Flow
A Addali, S Al-lababidi, H Yeung, D Mba and F Khan Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering 2010 224: 281 DOI: 10.1243/09544089JPME359 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Slug flow is characterized by a complex dynamic structure. As a result. Monitoring of slugs and measurement of their characteristics.1243/09544089JPME359 Abstract: The two-phase liquid/gas slug flow regime phenomenon can be encountered over a range of gas and liquid flowrates. This article presents experimental results correlating acoustic emission measurements with gas void fraction in a two-phase water/air flow regime. and collapse of bubbles processes. Cranfield University. the LSB length.sagepub. which is faster than the average mixture velocity Vmix. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie.TECHNICAL NOTE 281 Acoustic emission and gas-phase measurements in two-phase flow A Addali1 . UK The manuscript was received on 15 February 2010 and was accepted after revision for publication on 12 April 2010. LLSB .mba@cranfield. IMechE Vol. D Mba1∗ . UK. The gas in the EB moves at a velocity VGEB .1 Acoustic emission technique ∗ Corresponding author: School of Mechanical Engineering. Also. one consequence of which is the generation of sound [9]. breakage. Cran- field University. and the elongated bubble (EB) length. which in the fullness of time results in the liquid film becoming JPME359 Acoustic emission (AE) is used to describe the spontaneous elastic energy released by a process in the form of transient elastic waves. The fragmentation of the EB tail and the entrainment of the bubbles into the front section of the LSB are due to the dispersing forces induced by the flow of the liquid film as it plunges into the liquid slug front. DOI: 10. which hitherto has not been investigated. LEB . gas void fraction 1 SLUG FLOW MECHANISM AND ACOUSTIC EMISSION In the oil and gas production process. GE . the liquid is shed from the back of the LSB to form the liquid film layer along the EB. H Yeung1 . The idealized picture of a ‘stable slug’ flow in a horizontal pipe is presented in Fig. coalescence. such as the gas void fraction. The mechanism of slug initiation has been experimentally investigated by many authors [1–8]. dispersed gas bubbles can be generated in the LSB region through the formation. and F Khan2 1 School of Mechanical Engineering. From the description of the slug flow formation. email: d. The liquid in the film at the EB nose may be aerated. the bubbles in the LSB coalesce with the EB interface and are gradually absorbed. 224 Part E: J. the gas bubbles are fragmented from the tail of the EB and re-entrained into the front section of the LSB ‘F’ at a defined rate. At the same time. In addition. Section ‘F’ represents the front region of the liquid slug body (LSB) and section ‘T’ represents the tail region of the LSB. It is concluded that the gas void fraction can be determined by the measurement of acoustic emission. two-phase Bedfordshire MK43 0AL. a multi-phase slug flow regime is normally encountered for a range of pipe inclinations and over a wide range of gas and liquid flowrates. The transient pressure causes the gas bubbles to oscillate at their natural frequencies. slug flow. 2013 .com by guest on April 7. 1. Cranfield. Building 52. S Al-lababidi1 . in the LSB. the AE technology Proc. In a stable slug flow. are necessary to minimize the disruption of downstream process facilities. BHR Group Limited. remain essentially constant in the downstream direction. which consists of aerated slugs of liquid that travel down the pipeline at the local gas velocity. Keywords: acoustic emission. AEs are generated within a material manifest as elastic waves on the surface of the material and cover a broad frequency range typically from 20 kHz to 1 MHz [10]. 1. Cranfield. Cranfield. As a non-destructive testing tool AE has been successfully applied to a range of industries [11–13]. The mixture velocity is the sum of the liquid velocity and the gas velocity (VSL + VSG ). The entrained gas bubbles in the liquid experience a transient pressure as they move through the hydrodynamic pressure field of the liquid. UK 2 The Fluid Engineering Centre.

it suffers from two significant limitations – it cannot be used at high gas fraction ranges and is flow regime dependent. It is also known that the event of a bubble collapse results in the release of AE energy [21]. and/or division result in bubble oscillations at the bubble resonant frequencies that are dependent on the radius of the bubble and mode of excitation. The separation method is the most traditional method used for void fraction measurements. The application of AE in the measurement of GVF offers another measurement technique. bubble coalescence. and rotating field electrodes [26]. 1.5 per cent [22]. ring electrodes [24]. including bubble size and shape [16–19]. However. and F Khan T Liquid Slug Body (LSB) EB tail GT VLSB(L) VLSB(G) F Elongated Bubble (EB) VT GB VGEB EB nose GE HLF VLF LLSB LEB Fig. 1 Schematic description of an idealized developed slug flow has also gained considerable recognition as a complimentary tool for machine condition monitoring [14]. Process Mechanical Engineering measurements The gamma-ray densometer and conductivity rings suffer from saturated output signal at higher GVFs and require the construction of complicated. D Mba. The objective of this study was to develop a correlation to predict the gas void fraction (GVF) in two-phase air/water slug flow as a function of the absolute AE energy and slug velocity. dependent on the magnitude. Such excitation. e. All such pressure pulsations. contact or non-contact electrodes). for instance a 1 ◦ C increase in temperature can increase the conductivity measurement by 2. they are sometimes fraught with difficulty. and collapse of bubbles in the slug (as described earlier). helical electrodes [25]. will result in volumetric bubble oscillations at various modes of the bubble. Depending on the technique used. Also. unlike the proposed passive AE technique that is flow regime independent and non-invasive. numerous investigations on the sound emitted from two-phase flow have focused on understanding the bubble characteristics. gas.and multi-phase flows. will excite a broad frequency range extending to the AE spectrum. Hence. where an expensive separator facility is employed to physically separate and then measure the two-phase flow components.sagepub. The earliest known references relating emitted sound from two-phase gas/liquid flow to the presence of air bubbles were published by Bragg in the early 1920s [15]. The fast response of this method makes it possible to employ it for measurements during both steady-state and transient situations. Generally. In two-phase gas/liquid flow regimes. The basic principle for electrical impedance methods for component fraction (void fraction) is measuring the electrical impedance or the dielectric constant of the mixed flow. Gammaray attenuation and electrical impedance are the most generally adopted techniques for void fraction Proc. the accuracy of void fraction measurement may also vary. the mixed flow is characterized as an electrical conductor. dedicated facilities. IMechE Vol. it is considered as an invasive measurement technique that requires special arrangements in order to install it. 2013 . but in this JPME359 Downloaded from pie. The signal of impedance methods (conductance probe) shows high sensitivity and dependency on liquid temperature.2 Conductivity measurement technique Although several techniques are commercially available for measuring GVFs in two. coalescence.282 A by guest on April 7. Studies on the dynamics of bubble behaviour [17–20] have shown bubble formation. H Yeung. due to the nature of its online installation. and water components. the information about the void fraction of these components can be determined. Other techniques such as dilation and photographic methods are suitable for laboratory and research use only. in addition to the formation. breakage. Thereafter. gas bubbles entrained in the liquid will generate sound pressures when excited by external pressure fluctuations such as experienced within the slug. S Al-lababidi. Several other methods are described in the literature such as arc electrodes [23]. 224 Part E: J.g. and by applying a well-calibrated relationship between the void fraction and the conductivity and permittivity of the oil. measurements of the electrical impedance are carried out across the pipe diameter (using.

3). 224 Part E: J.2 m/s at each constant VSL (see Fig. and every test condition was maintained for 120 s Air tank Air Flowmeter P T 1 P 1 T ½” compressor Air Air injection Mag Flowmeter P P 3 T T 3 Water Wat Water tan er tank k Pump Conductivity sensor Steel pipe Fig. Measurements of GVF were undertaken with conductivity probe section followed by stainless-steel pipe of 750 mm length and 8 mm thickness. 3 JPME359 Flow regime highlighting the test region Proc. two Perspex sections were installed to allow visual observations of the flow. thereby allowing a direct correlation between the AE measured from the stainless-steel pipe and the measured GVF.2 m/s at increments of 0. IMechE Vol. The majority of the piping system was made from ABS (class E) pipes.4 m/s at increments of 0. The flow loop pipeline was of sufficient length to allow the formation of fully developed slugs. Water was supplied to the flow loop using a centrifugal pump with a maximum capacity of 40 m3 /h and a maximum discharge pressure of 5 by guest on April 7. 2013 . however. Air was injected into the liquid flow through a 0.3–1.2– 1. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie.1 m/s and superficial air velocities (VSG ) of 0. The VSL and VSG values were achieved by throttling the valves downstream of the flow meters. The water flow was measured using an electromagnetic flow meter with 0–20 m3 /h range. The experiments covered a range of superficial water velocities (VSL ) of 0. 2 Two-inch air/water horizontal flow test facility Fig. 2).5 in (13 mm) pipe fitted with an airflow meter.Acoustic emission and gas-phase measurements in two-phase flow 283 regard the technology can be applied non-intrusively and rapidly. 2 EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP AND PROCEDURE A purposely built experimental facility that can simulate a two-phase flow was employed (see Fig.sagepub. offering an option that is not available at present.

3 0.4 0. only one ring will be utilized in this investigation.8 0. Calibration of the probe was performed by connecting the electrode pairs to the conductivity electronic box device that supplied a 7 kHz AC carrier signal. [28]. Labview software and AT-M10 data acquisition card of National Instruments were used to acquire and store the data continuously in the computer hard disk.2 0. Such probes can be operated either in the conductance (lower AC frequency) or in the capacitance (very high AC frequency) mode.2 0.6 0. 4.074 were chosen based on the design recommendations by Fossa [29]. 5.7 0. H Yeung. 224 Part E: J. 6 Calibration of conductivity ring probe JPME359 Proc.7 Liquid Holdup 0. D Mba. S Al-lababidi. Comparisons between the conductivity sensor measurement and AE were undertaken for every test condition.8 0.sagepub.284 A Addali.3 0.34 and Sp /d = 0.5 0. The conductivity probe measuring section is a 0.4 0. However. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie. An electronic circuit is used to measure the electrical impedance between the electrodes. 2013 . All tests were undertaken at ambient temperature and pressure conditions.6 0.5 m long Perspex pipe of 50 mm inner diameter.1 0. Probes based on this technique have been used by Andreussi and Bendiksen [27] and Fossa et al. and F Khan Fig. 5 Scheme of flush-mounted stainless-steel conductivity ring electrodes 1 0. IMechE Vol.9 0. equipped with two pairs of flush-mounted ring electrode conductivity probes.7 mm and spaced at 17 mm (= De ) apart. and d was equal to 0. as shown in Fig. as seen in Fig. 4 Two-inch test section (AE sensor and preamplifier) and conductivity sensor during which period data were acquired for each test condition.1 0 0 0. They consist of two stainless-steel ring electrodes with a width of (Sp ) by guest on April 7.5 0. The probes discussed here are of twin-ring electrodes type.05 m. The aspect ratios of the probe De /d = 0.9 1 G* (Dimensionless Conductance) Fig. The gas– liquid phase distribution was achieved by introducing Fig.

6 0. IMechE by guest on April 7. 6. both the weight of the water excluding the weight of the conductivity ring and the corresponding value in volts was recorded.sagepub. a calibration curve for the probe was obtained. At each measurement. As a result. resulting in the following relationship E = −1.475 × (G ∗ )3 + 0.00E+03 Film Region 5.50E+03 Slug nose AE Abs.2 1 Film Region 0. as shown in Fig. A total of 48 measurements were performed in order to cover the liquid fraction range 0–1.623 × (G ∗ ) where G ∗ is the dimensionless conductance. 7 Slug trace by conductivity probes 3. The correlated liquid hold-up (E ) as a function of the normalized output voltage was fixed at ‘1’ when the pipe was full and ‘0’ when the pipe is empty.Acoustic emission and gas-phase measurements in two-phase flow 285 known liquid volumes into the horizontally positioned test pipe.368 × (G ∗ )2 + 0. 224 Part E: J. 2013 .00E+03 1.50E+03 Slug Body 1.00E+00 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Time (second) Fig.2 0 0 2 4 6 8 Time (second) 10 12 14 Fig. Tap water was used and great care was taken to check the inclination of the pipe at each measurement.00E+03 2.4 0. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie. 8 Typical AE signal from slug flow JPME359 Proc.00E+02 0. (1) 1.489 × (G ∗ )4 + 1. Energy (Atto joules) 2.8 Liquid Holdup Slug Body 0.

the levels of AE energy increased with the passing of the slug over the sensor.003 451 m Zhang et al. 4 3. the largest amplitude was associated with the slug nose and the lowest AE energy was associated with the fluid film region (see Fig.8 Fig. IMechE Vol.4σ (ρL − ρG )g 1/2 (3) where. This assumption is used in this article to relate Surface Free Energy (Joule) 0. as shown in Fig. [30]. 9 Surface free energy and measured GVF in the slug body JPME359 Proc. and F Khan A sample trace collected from the conductivity probe under slug flow conditions is presented in Fig. A typical AE energy signal collected from the AE sensor under slug flow conditions is presented in Fig. based on the maximum amount of gas the liquid slug can hold. 8.5 0. 2013 . respectively. S Al-lababidi. ρL and ρG are the liquid and gas densities. Sensor sensitivity was evaluated using the pencil lead fracture technique [31]. 10−18 ) was recorded at 10 ms sample rate. The AE sensor was non-invasively mounted by means of industrial superglue onto the stainlesssteel pipe. a correlation was then established between AE and GVF.sagepub. and ELSB is the liquid hold-up in the slug body. dbubble . The absolute energy is defined as a measure of the true energy and is derived from the integral of the squared voltage signal (raw signal) divided by the reference resistance (10 k ) over the sampling interval of the AE signal. These observations were as expected. which in turn is significantly higher than that in the fluid film.5 2 1. 8). dbubble . the total surface free energy of the discrete gas bubbles (Esurface ) in the LSB was proposed by Brauner and Ullmann [33] as Esurface = 6σ dbubble A(1 − ELSB )LLSB (2) where σ is the interfacial surface tension.4 0. and g is the gravitational force. The slug length LLSB was calculated as a function of the pipe diameter D [3] as LLSB = 32D (4) 3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Having taken the measurement of AEs for various gas and liquid velocities. Clearly. D Mba. A is the internal cross-sectional area of the pipe. is proportional to the turbulent kinetic energy in the LSB.7 0.6 m and bubble diameter = 0.6 Gas Void Fraction Measurement by Conductivity Sensor 0.2 Values employed in estimating Esurface included: Slug length = 1. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie. 224 Part E: J. is given as dbubble = 2 0.1 0. given that the rate of bubble collapse and formation at the slug nose is higher than that in the slug body.5 0 0.286 A Addali. LLSB is the length of the LSB.5 1 0. From reference [34]. The output AE signals from the sensor were pre-amplified at 60 dB and the AE absolute energy parameter (attoJoules. 7. 3. Assuming that gas bubbles are all spherical with a diameter. AE levels associated with the slug body were less than that at the slug nose.5 3 2. H Yeung.3 0.1 Gas bubbles in the slug body Adamson [32] stated that the surface free energy per unit interfacial area is equal to the interfacial surface tension between a liquid phase and a gas phase. a critical bubble diameter. 4. A commercially available AE acquisition system was used for acquiring the data from a Pico-type AE sensor with a broadband operating frequency range of 150– 750 kHz. [35] assumed that the surface free energy of the discrete gas by guest on April 7. This orientation of the AE sensor was previously investigated and justified by Addali et al. Interestingly.

2013 JPME359 0. This is because the surface free energy is proportional to the amount of gas bubbles held in the slug body. 11 Contribution of the turbulence kinetic energy on the increase of the absolute acoustic energy Proc. As expected. From the experiments it was noted that at a fixed superficial water velocity.7 1.9 1.2 1. The GVF measured using the conductivity sensor is used to calculate the surface free energy in air/water slug flow conditions as per equation (2) and is plotted in Fig. and interfacial surface tension.4 (m / s) Vsl=1. This was observed for all VSL levels investigated.8 50 0.8 m/s 100 50 0 0.4 m/s 200 Abs Acoustic Energy (10^-18 Joule) 150 Vsg=0. 10). increasing the superficial gas velocity resulted in an increase of the measured absolute AE energy (see Fig.2 m/s Vsl=1.3 1.4 V SG .0 m/s Vsl=0.8 0.5 1 1. bubble diameter.9 m/s Vsl=0.6 m/s VS L (m 0.2 0 0.1 1.4 0. VSL = 0.5 1.2 /s ) 0. and its associated bubble dynamics.9 by guest on April 7. the relationship between the surface free energy and GVF is linear for the given slug length.5 Surface Free Energy (Joule) Fig.sagepub.6 0.Acoustic emission and gas-phase measurements in two-phase flow 287 AE to surface free energy.9 0. This was not surprising and showed that an increase in the bubble content. Figure 11 describes the relationship between AE energy measured from the 250 Abs Acoustic Energy (10^-18 Joule) 200 150 100 1.3 Fig.7 m/s Vsl=0. It was interesting to note that an increase in VSL for a fixed VSG resulted in a relative decrease in surface free energy.8 m/s Vsl=0. IMechE Vol. for example. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from pie.6 1.5 0.1 2. 9.1 m/s Vsl=1.7 0 0. resulted in an increase of AE generated. 224 Part E: J.3 2.8 m/s.7 0. 10 Contribution of the liquid and air velocities on the increase of the measured absolute acoustic energy 250 Vsg=1.0 0. while a simultaneous increase in AE energy was observed.1 1.

13 GVF predicted from the proposed AE model. Process Mechanical Engineering Downloaded from by guest on April 7.3 0.5 m/s VSL=0.2 m/s 0. the authors believe that there are two processes influencing the generation of AE: the free surface energy that is a measure of the bubble content in the liquid (air velocity) and the influence of turbulent diffusion 0. an increase in the water’s superficial velocity reduces the GVF for a defined superficial air velocity.8 Absolute AE energy and measured GVF VSL=0. When the water’s superficial velocity increases. 2013 .3776 (turbulent kinetic energy) due to high superficial liquid velocities.9 m/s VSL=1.355 y = 0. S Al-lababidi.1941xy y = 0.0571x 0.8 y = 0.6 0.4 0. 224 Part E: J. as illustrated in Fig.2 0. Similarly.1875x 0. as a result.8 m/s Vsl=0. In the latter instance.288 A Addali.514 Vsl=1. the intensity of the turbulence diffusion increases and.5 0.0 m/s Vsl=0.0 Fig.5 3.5 0. 3. H Yeung.2 0.2 AE and GVF correlation in the slug body Figure 12 presents the measured GVF taken by the conductivity sensor and the associated absolute AE energy suggesting a non-linear relationship.0817x 0.5 1.0 1.2 m/s 0.9 m/s Vsl=0.7 VSL=0.037x 0.4 m/s Vsl=0.1241x 0.0 m/s VSL=1.1 0.7 GVF (Measured by Conductivity) 0. the reduction in AE associated with the surface free energy is less than the increase in AE associated with the turbulence diffusion process. IMechE Vol. D Mba.6 m/s VSL=0. and F Khan AE sensor and the surface free energy calculated from equation (2).1 0 0.8 m/s 0.1 m/s VSL=1.3 m/s 0. the associated absolute AE energy increases even though the calculated surface energy decreases.3375 0. and the associated absolute AE energy. Therefore.3 0.4 VSL=0. 12 0. Figure 12 provided the basis for establishing a relationship between the GVF as a function of the AE energy. equation (5) JPME359 Proc.4129 y = 0. this GVF is directly correlated to the free surface energy.3395 = 0. 11.0 Mixture Velocity (m/s) 2.3 m/s 0.4 m/s VSL=0.1 m/s Vsl=1.148x y = 0. Vsl=1.sagepub.7 m/s GVF predicted by AE Correlation 0.4591 y = 0.0 0 50 100 150 200 250 Abs Acoustic Energy (10^-18 Joule) Fig. This suggests that there are two mechanisms responsible for the generation of AE. Figure 10 illustrates the above-mentioned processes between liquid and air velocities.5 2.6 0.0 VSL=0.

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