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AAPL CFD Service Department Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations of Oil and Gas Applications

A Report By Himanshu Joshi. P.M- CFD AAPL


Many petroleum and oil and gas companies are utilising the predictive capabilities of powerful flowmodelling software. FLUENT computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is giving engineers, researchers and designers a validated simulation tool to help them better understand the performance, design and troubleshooting in applications ranging from reservoir injector design and drilling, to production and transport. CFD is a branch of fluid mechanics that complements experimental and analytical fluid- and thermal-engineering. It is currently used in many onshore and offshore, as well as subsea, applications. The Benefit of this software program is that engineers can perform numerical experiments that help reduce the need for costly and time-consuming prototype programs. FLUENT can help simulate flows involving single and multiple phases, either with or without heat and mass transfer. Comprehensive models are available to simulate complex machinery and equipment involving moving parts, erosion and moving and deformation, while accounting for droplet size distribution through solving population balance equations. These models have been developed and tested to target applications such as drill bits, pumps, separation tanks, multistage compressors, etc. To help meet the safety and regulatory demands, as well as the reliability needs of the oil and gas industry and other user communities, the software is developed through ISO9001 process.

Figure 1: Schematic Illustrating the Internal Region of a Pipe Flow Discretised into a Finite set of Control Volumes (Mesh)

January 14, 2013

How Does CFD Work?

One of the basic steps in solving transport equation With CFD is to split the domain of interest into Small volumes or elements. Figure 1 illustrates

The internal volume of a double elbow in a pipe flow, along with these smaller control volumes. Numerically, it is then possible to solve the governing equations of interest for each control volume and for the entire flow domain. The solution procedure can account for initial and boundary conditions, as well as steady-state and time-varying. Using fluent software, product development, design and research, engineers build virtual prototypes and simulate the performance of proposed and existing designs. This allows them to improve design quality while enhancing their fundamental understanding of how and why a device or a process performs in a certain way. CFD enables the quick evaluation of various design ideas and predicts effects of process parameters variation.

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AAPL CFD Service Department

In contrast to experiments, CFD providesIn comprehensive information, permitting the analyst to examine a large number of variables and gain insight into flow information, at any part of the domain and any flow variable of interest.

As shown in the figure 3 its evident that velocity profile is uniform in every zone and the profile becomes more uniform as the flow advances ahead. The flow expands gradually as it gets guided through the guide plates and is free of vortices
Figure 3. Velocity Profile for the duct in CFD Analysis

An example of such an analysis was performed in a Study by AAPLengineers, featuring design optimisation of a flue gas duct, so as to avoid the extreme vibrations happening in the duct. On the initial study it was found that the preliminary design of the duct went wrong from the manufacturer which was made with high angles of divergence and resulted in flow circulation and there by inducing vibrations. The idea now remaining from the consultant side was to avoid the circulation with a unique plate attachment which would further reduce the divergence angle.

Figure 2 Shows the CAD Model of the duct with the modified plate assembly

Advances in computer hardware, combined with focus and dedicated development toward the flowmodelling needs of the oil and gas and petrochemical companies, provide a versatile simulation technology to current engineers and designers. The breadth and applicability of CFD to solve and understand flow-related problems in exploration and production (E&P) is steadily expanding. The cases highlighted here are but a few examples of how this technology is currently being deployed. The underlying success and continuous acceptance of CFD as a part of everyday analysis will be driven by its ability to provide easy-to-use tools that meet the reliability and capability requirements for this industry

January 14, 2013

The CFD Analysis showed a better flow system incorporated with the altered design and the following conclusions were made. Low value and uniform Velocity Profile with reduced turbulence. Velocity in the duct & and the sections later on MC (Mixing Chamber) varied as per the requirement and optimum design conditions which was as per the process flow data sheets.

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