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Proceedings of ASME-JSME-KSME Joint Fluids Engineering Conference 2011

AJK2011-FED
July 24-29, 2011, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, JAPAN
AJK2011-10045
NUMERICAL SIMULATION OF GAS-LIQUID SLUG FLOW ALONG VERTICAL PIPES
USING THE SLUG TRACKING MODEL


Alex Pachas N.
LACIT/PPGEM/UTFPR
Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Csar Perea M.
LACIT/PPGEM/UTFPR
Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Rigoberto E. M. Morales
LACIT/PPGEM/UTFPR
Curitiba, PR, Brazil


Cristiane Cozin
LACIT/PPGEM/UTFPR
Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Eugnio E. Rosa
FEM/UNICAMP
Campinas, SP, Brazil
Ricardo A. Mazza
FEM/UNICAMP
Campinas, SP, Brazil


ABSTRACT
The intermittent gas-liquid flow, or slug flow, in vertical
tubes occurs over a wide range of gas and liquid flow rates,
with many applications, such as oil industry. Predicting the
properties of this kind of flow is important to design properly
pumps, risers and other components involved. In the present
work, vertical upward slug flow is studied through a one-
dimensional and lagrangian frame referenced model called slug
tracking. In this model, the mass and the momentum balance
equations are applied in control volumes constituted by the gas
bubble and the liquid slug, which are propagated along the
pipe. The flow intermittency is reproduced through the
conditions at the entrance of the pipe, which are analyzed in
statistical terms. These entrance conditions are given by a
sequence of flow properties for each unit cell. The objective of
the present work is to simulate the slug flow and its
intermittency through the slug tracking model. The numerical
results are compared with experimental data obtained by
2PFG/FEM/UNICAMP for air-water flow and good agreement
is observed.
INTRODUCTION
The slug flow occurs over a wide range of gas and liquid
flow rates. This flow pattern is characterized by an intermittent
sequence of liquid slugs and elongated bubbles distributed
irregularly over time and space. The liquid slug may contain
disperse bubbles and the elongated bubble flows underneath or
inside a thin liquid film. The prediction of the gas-liquid
properties (lengths, frequency and velocity as well as the
pressure drop) is necessary to design facilities operating with
slug flow pattern.

There are a number of slug flow models based on the unit-
cell concept. Fernandes et al. [1] proposed one hydrodynamic
model to predict the flow properties of a gas-liquid slug flow in
vertical tubes, Taitel and Barnea [2] reported one general
model for horizontal, inclined and vertical flows and more
recently Abdul-Mejeed and Al-Mashat [3] developed one
mechanistic model to predict the flow behavior for upward
vertical and inclined two-phase slug flow.
These models are the so-called steady state models, because
they consider that all bubbles and slugs are equal in time and
space (periodic flow). The steady state models are easy to use
and predict properly the mean values of the important
variables, such as pressure drop and bubble velocity. However,
the main characteristic of slug flow its intermittency is not
captured. During the 90s a new class of models called slug
tracking emerged. Computationally, these models are more
expensive, but are capable of simulating the transient behavior
of the flow.
Taitel and Barnea [4] and Al-Safran et al. [5] presented slug
tracking models as an evolution of the earlier Taitel and Barnea
[2] work, still considering incompressible fluids. Ujang et al.
[6] presented a model based on mass conservation in each unit
cell, but the authors considered both phases as incompressible.
Grenier [7] and Rodrigues [8] used integral control volumes to
obtain mass and momentum conservation equations for each
unit cell.
Slug tracking models, in principle, capture some transient
effects of the flow, such as the effect of bubbles entrance and
exit of the pipe, the bubble to bubble interaction and the
instantaneous change of the mass and momentum fluxes of
both phases. However, these models are strongly dependent of
1 Copyright 2011 by ASME
Proceedings of the ASME-JSME-KSME 2011 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference
AJK-Fluids2011
July 24-29, 2011, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, JAPAN
AJK2011-10045
Downloaded From: http://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/ on 11/25/2013 Terms of Use: http://asme.org/terms

the conditions imposed at the pipe inlet, which are related to
intermittence.
The geometric parameters and the main variables in each
region show intermittence along the pipe. Therefore, it is not
enough to know their average behavior, but also the
distribution. For that reason, slug flow variables should be
described in statistical terms [9]. The flow intermittence can be
reproduced by the use of the probability density function
(PDF).
One of the first works on intermittence of slug tracking was
presented by Barnea and Taitel [9]. A model was developed for
the slug length probability distribution highlighting the
importance of the maximum slug length along the pipe. They
also developed two types of slug length distributions at the
entrance: a random and a uniform distribution. It was
concluded that the slug length distribution at the entrance does
not affect its distribution along the pipe.
The present work uses the slug tracking model presented in
Rodrigues [8] for vertical flow considering the gas
compressibility and aerated slugs with an intermittent inlet
condition. Therefore, each bubble and slug entering the pipe
has a different length and velocity. The values of the bubble
lengths and velocities are based on a Normal distribution while
the slug lengths are based on a log-Normal distribution [9]. The
mean values and standard deviation are obtained from
experimental results.

NOMENCLATURE
D Pipe diameter
L
S
Slug length.
L
B
Bubble length.
R
S
Liquid holdup in the liquid slug.
R
B
Mean void fraction in the bubble region.
U
S
Mean liquid slug velocity.
U
GS
Mean velocity of the gas bubbles dispersed in the slug
U
LB
Mean velocity of the liquid film
U
GB
Mean velocity of the Taylor bubble
U
T
Translational velocity of the front of the bubble
U
DS
Drift velocity
P
G
Pressure in the gas bubble.
j
L
Liquid superficial velocity
j
G
Gas superficial velocity
J Mixture velocity (j
L
+ j
G
)
h
LB
Film height in the bubble region
x Position of the back of the bubble
y Position of the front of the bubble
Density
t Shear stress
u Inclination angle = 90
Subscripts
j j
th
unit cell
k Number in the entrance conditions list
L Liquid phase
G Gas phase
S Slug region
B Bubble region
i Interface

THE SLUG TRACKING MODEL
The model is based on the one-dimensional integral form
of the mass and momentum conservation equations applied to
each of the components of the unit cell. As a result, two
equations are obtained as a function of the bubble pressure and
the liquid slug velocity. These two equations are discretized
numerically in order to be solved in a linear equations system.
The control volumes are deformable and follow each
bubble and slug along the pipe. Figure 1 presents the j
th
unit
cell, in which coordinates x
j
and y
j
represent the front of the
slug and the bubble, respectively.



FIGURE 1. VERTICAL SLUG FLOW UNIT

Mathematical model
The liquid mass conservation equation is applied to the
slug defined by the pipe wall and the
j
x and coordinates
j
y ,
(Fig. 1). The resulting equation yields:


Sj Sj
Sxj Syj
Sj
L dR
U U
R dt
= (1)

The liquid velocities at the slug boundaries (U
Sxj
and U
Syj
)
must be expressed as function of the mean liquid slug velocity
U
Sj
. Defining U
Sj
as the arithmetic mean of the boundaries
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velocity,
( )
2
Sj Sxj Syj
U U U = + , the liquid velocities may be
written as

,
2 2
Sj Sj Sj Sj
Sxj Sj Syj Sj
Sj Sj
L dR L dR
U U U U
R dt R dt
= = + (2)

Similarly for the gas balance, but also considering the gas
compressibility, the gas velocities at the slug boundaries (U
GSxj

and U
GSyj
) can be calculated by:


( )
( )
1 1
2 1
1 1
2 1
Sj Sj Gj
GSxj GSj
Gj Sj
Sj Sj Gj
GSyj GSj
Gj Sj
L dR d
U U
dt dt R
L dR d
U U
dt dt R

(
( = +
(

(
( =
(

(3)

Mass balance is applied to the liquid phase inside the
control volume encompassing the bubble region and defined by
the pipe wall and the boundaries
j
y and
1 j
x

. Using Eq. (1),
it is obtained:


( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
1
1
1 1
1 1
1 1
2 2
j j Bj
Sj Bj Sj Bj Bj
Sj Sj Sj Sj
Sj Sj Sj Sj
dy dx dR
R R R R L
dt dt dt
L dR L dR
R U R U
dt dt



+
=
(4)

The mass balance equation is also applied to the gas phase
in the bubble region, considering the results of Eq. (3):


( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
( )
( )
1
1
1 1
1 1 1
1 1
1 1
1 1
1
2 2
1 1
1
2 1
1 1
1
2 1
j j Bj
Sj Bj Sj Bj Bj
Sj Sj Sj Sj Gj
Bj Bj
Gj
Sj Sj Gj
Sj GSj
Sj Gj
Sj Sj Gj
Sj GSj
Sj Gj
dy dx dR
R R R R L
dt dt dt
L dR L dR d
L R
dt dt dt
L dR d
R U
R dt dt
L dR d
R U
R dt dt





+
=
( | |
+ + ( |
|

(
\ .
|
+


\
( |
( |
|
(
.
(5)

It can be observed that the LHS of Eqs. (4) and (5) are
the same, so they can be merged in one equation. Considering
ideal gas, the gas density is expressed in pressure terms. In
addition, the velocity of the dispersed bubbles in the slug U
GS

can be written as the superposition of the mixture velocity J
and the drift velocity U
DS
, which can be calculated through
correlations found in the literature [2]. That way, it can be
written as one equation that represents the total mass balance in
the unit cell:


( )
( ) ( )
1
1 1
1
1 1
1
1 1
1 1
2 2
Sj Sj
Sj Sj DSj DSj
Sj Sj
Sj Sj Bj Bj Sj Sj
Bj
Bj Bj Bj
R R
U U U U
R R
R R dP R L L
L
dt P P P

| | | |
= + | |
| |
\ . \ .
(

( + + +
(

(6)

Now, momentum balance is applied in the liquid slug:


( ) ( )
S S Sj Sj L Sj Sj Sj
yj xj
j j
Sxj L Sj Sxj Syj L Sj Syj
d
P P A DL AR L U
dt
dx dy
U AR U U AR U
dt dt
t t

= +
| | | |
+
| |
\ . \ .
(7)

Pressure in the momentum equation is evaluated in the
liquid, but in the mass balance equation (6) it appears as
function of the pressure in the bubble P
B
. In that context,
pressures in Eq. (7) must be expressed as pressure in the
bubble, through the application of the balance equations in the
interface.
Due to the smooth shape of the front of the bubble, the
pressure drop can be considered negligible between the front of
the bubble and the tail of the slug. Thus, it is obvious that:


S Bj
yj
P P = (8)

On the other hand, pressure drop at the back of the
elongated bubble can not be negligible. It is modeled by
performing a stationary momentum balance in the control
volume specified in Fig. FIGURE 2 considering that the
pressure along the bubble remains constant.


1 1 1
1
LBj LBj Bj
S Bj
xj
S L
P P
A
t
+ + +
+
= + (9)

Finally, momentum equation for the liquid slug is given by
replacing Eq. (8) and Eq. (9) in Eq. (7)


( )
( ) ( )
1 1 1
1
1 1
1
1
2
Bj Bj Bj Sj Sj
Bj Bj
L Sj Sj Bj Bj
Sj Sj j j
L Sj Sj Sj Sj
S L DL
P P
A
R L R L gSen
dU dR dx dy
L R L U
dt dt dt dt
t t t
u

+ + +
+
+ +
+
= +
+ + +
( | |

+ + +
( ` |
( \ . )
(10)

Equation (10) shows that the pressure drop between two
adjacent unit cells occurs due to the shear stress, the
gravitational weight and a term related to the local acceleration
of the slug.

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FIGURE 2. CONTROL VOLUME FOR THE PRESSURE
COUPLING
Numerical discretization
Equations (6) and (10) form the coupled system that is
solved at each time step for U
Sj
and P
Bj
. The system is
discretized with the finite differences method using the semi-
implicit Crank-Nicholson scheme and using the Darcy
correlation for the shear stress. The discretized forms of Eqs.
(6) and (10) become:


( ) ( )
( ) ( )
1 1
1
1
1 1
1
1
1 1 2
1 1 2
2
Sj Sj Sj Sj Bj Bj N N N
Sj Sj Bj O O O
Bj Bj GBj
O
Sj Sj Sj Sj GBj Bj Bj O O
Sj Sj O
GBj
Dj
L R L R L R
U U P
tP tP tP
L R L R P L R
U U
t t tP
U

| |

| + + + =
| A A A
\ .
| |

| + + +
| A A A
\ .
A
(11)

and


( )
1
1 1
2 4
2
2
Sj Sj LSj N N O N
Bj L Sj Sj Sj Bj
O
Sj Sj Sj L O O
Bj Bj Sj j
R L C
P U L U P
t D
R L U
P P P I
t

+
+ +
| |
+ + + =
|
A
\ .
+ A + A
A
(12)

where


1
1
1
2
1 1 1
1 1
2
2
Sj Sj
DSj DSj DSj
LSj LSj
L LBj LBj
Sj Bj LBj
Sj j j LSj
j Sj LSj L
R R
U U U
R R
C S
P L U
D
L dx dy dR
I L U
dt dt dt

+ + +

A =
A =
( | |
A = +
( |
( \ .
(13)

The super-indexes N and O indicate the new and old
values of the variables, respectively.
METHODOLOGY
In the previous section, the slug tracking model was
presented. In this section, the methodology for the solution of
the slug tracking model is detailed.
A couple of two equations, (11) and (12), are written for
each j unit cell (1 j n). If n is the number of unit cells inside
the pipe, there would be 2n equations. That way, there is an
equation system in terms of the mean velocity in the liquid slug
region U
Sj
and the pressure inside the j
th
bubble P
Bj
. The set of
units cells produce a linear system which can be written as A.
= B, where A, is a tridiagonal matrix, is the unknown vector
and B the source term vector. Finally, the TDMA method is
used to solve the equation system. One system is solved at each
time step.
For the application of this method, some boundary
conditions must be known for the first and the last cell. In the
last cell (j = n), the value P
Bn+1
is used, which represents the
pressure at the exit. Commonly, the atmospheric pressure
written as
1 Bn atm
P P
+
= , is used at the exit.
In the first cell (j = 1), the value U
S0
is used, which
represents the instantaneous velocity of the liquid in the first
slug, calculated by the Eq. (14):

( )
( )
0
0 0
0
1
S
S L G DS
S
R
U j j U
R

= + (14)

In order to initialize the simulation, initial conditions at t=0
must be established. In the present work, it is considered that
the pipe is full of liquid with initial velocity U
S0
and the first
bubble is positioned in 0 z = (See Figure 3).
However, whenever a unit cell needs to be inserted at the
pipe entrance, the superficial velocities must be known to
calculate U
S0
. In addition, the bubble and slug lengths also must
be known to calculate the coefficients in Eqs. (11) and (12). In
order to reproduce the flow intermittence, each of the unit cells
entering the pipe should be different. Thus, a list of unit cells
needs to be generated, which is called entrance conditions. The
calculation of these entrance conditions is presented in the next
section. Once the unit cells list is generated, they are saved in a
file, which will be read line by line by the program when the
simulation begins.
When the simulation starts (at t=0), two unit cell are
required from the entrance conditions. The first has its bubble
nose at z = 0 and the second is behind the first one still outside
the pipe. One time step later, the parameters of the first unit cell
are updated through the solution of the tridiagonal system.
Time steps are increased and tridiagonal systems are solved
until the first bubble is completely inside the pipe. At that
moment, the second bubble starts entering the pipe and a third
unit cell from the entrance conditions is required. This third
unit cell is positioned behind the second. This procedure is
repeated for every single unit cell entering the pipe. Simulation
finishes when a number of unit cells specified by the user
leaves the pipe.
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FIGURE 3. BOUNDARY AND INITIAL CONDITIONS

The lagrangian slug tracking model presented is
implemented in an object-oriented computational program
written in FORTRAN language, using Intel Visual Fortran as
compiler. In this approach, bubbles and slugs are discrete
objects which are propagated along the pipe through the
governing equations.

ENTRANCE CONDITIONS
In the slug tracking method, the unit cells set as entrance
conditions are propagated along the pipe. Thus, coherent
entrance conditions determine an accurate simulation of the
slug flow intermittency. For the initialization of the slug
tracking, physical and geometric parameters of the pipe and the
unit cells are needed. In order to determine the characteristics
of the unit cells used as entrance condition, it is necessary to
know the variables listed on Table 1.

TABLE 1. INPUT DATA FOR THE GENERATION OF ENTRANCE
CONDITIONS

Description Description
G
j
Mean gas
superficial velocity
B
L
o

Bubble length standard
deviation
L
j
Liquid superficial
velocity
S
L
o
Liquid slug length
standard deviation
B
L Mean bubble length
T
U
o
Bubble translational
velocity standard deviation
S
L
Mean liquid slug
length
f Frequency

Each of the mean values and standard deviations will be
used to generate a sequence of distributed values. Each of the
terms in the sequence of data will be denominated with the
subscript k. In the case of L
B
and j
G
, normal distributions are
applied. In the case of L
S
a log-normal distribution is used [10].
In the case of j
L
, it is not necessary to build a distribution as it
is assumed constant along the simulation. Also, the slug liquid
holdup
S
R and void fraction of the elongated bubble
B
R are
calculated through the bubble design model presented in the
section below.

Statistical distributions
For the reproduction of L
S
, using the log-normal
distribution, the following parameters need to be calculated:


( ) ( )
2
2
1 , exp / 2
S
L S
Ln L o
(
(
+ = + I = +
(

(15)

where, and are statistical distribution parameters.
In order to obtain the distributed values sequence, the
transformation proposed by Box and Muller (1958) is used. In
this transformation, a sequence of random data with normal
distribution can be generated through two lists of independent
random (
1
and
2
) values with a uniform distribution (between
0 and 1). If sequences data generated by the Box-Muller
function, is used, a third sequence of random data is calculated
by:


( ) ( )
( ) ( )
1 2
1 2
1 1 1
2 cos 2
2 sen 2
k k k
k k k
Ln
Ln
t
t
+ + +
O =
O =
(16)

where
1
k
and
2
k
are independent random variables that are
uniformly distributed in the interval <0,1>,
k
O is an
independent random variable. These random variables
constitute a set of results close to the principal mean and with
standard deviation equals to 1.
Then, the data set with normal distribution is used to obtain
the slug flow parameters. In other words, it is obtained
sequences with normal distribution for the gas superficial
velocity (j
Gk
) and bubble length (L
Bk
) and sequences with log-
normal distribution for the slug length. These sequences are
function of the mean values and standard deviation, calculated
through the following equations:


( )
0
/
T
Gk G k U L G D
j j j j V C o
(
= + O + +

(17)


( )
1
B
Bk B k L
L L o
(
= + O

(18)

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( ) exp
Sk k
L Ln = O + + I (

(19)

where V
D
is the drift velocity and C
0
is the flow distribution
coefficient related to the translational bubble velocity U
T
.
Bubble design model
When the parameters j
Gk
, L
Bk
and L
Sk
are known, the volume
fractions R
Sk
and R
Bk
can be calculated using the bubble design
model presented by Taitel and Barnea [4]:


( )
( )
2 2
1 1
cos
1
G G L L
i i L G
L G G L LB
G GB L LB B B
L G
B LB B LB
S S
S gsen
A A A A h
z V V dR dR
g
R dh R dh
t t
t u

u
| |
+ +
|
c
\ .
=
c
+ +

(20)

where u=90 for vertical flow, V
LB
=U
T
- U
LB
and V
GB
=U
T
- U
GB
.
Eq. (20) represents the geometric shape of the Taylor
bubble expressed as the variation of the film height along the z
coordinate.
The most influential parameter in the bubble design model
is the translational velocity U
T
[8] as it determines the
distribution of the unit cell components. Its expression is given
by an empirical correlation:

( ) (1 )
T o D
U C J V = + + (21)

where
D
V C gD

= is the drift velocity of the elongated


bubble, J is the mixture velocity, is the factor of the
wake behind the bubble, and C

is a coefficient related to the


slope pipe. The coefficients C

and
o
C are calculated by
Bendiksens correlations [12], as a function of the Reynolds
number Re
M
, Froude number Fr
M
and Etvs number E
o
. Note
that V
D
depends on J, which depends on j
G
, so it is not constant.
The wake factor in Eq. (21) is calculated as
( )
exp
S
L
W w D
a b = [11]. For vertical pipes 8.0
W
a = and
1.06
W
b = [8].
In order to integrate Eq. (20), the initial height is
considered as a function of the initial volumetric fraction
B
R .
Once calculated the slope and the conditions initials in the film,
closure relationships for the bubble design equations are
needed.
Eq. (20) is integrated numerically from z = 0 to z = L
Bi
to
obtain the bubble geometry, assuming a value for R
Sj
. Then, the
mean void fraction in the bubble R
Bi
is calculated through the
height distribution (h
LB
) along the bubble length.
The calculated values of R
Sj
and R
Gj
must satisfy the
conservation of mass. Thus, Eqs. (22) and (23) are obtained
from the stationary mass balance in the unit cell [2]. The liquid
holdup in the slug R
Si
is recalculated through Eq. (22), The
void fraction in the bubble is also recalculated through Eq.
(23)

1
B
G T
S
GS T
j R U
R
U U
|
|

(22)

( )
( )
1
GS T G
B S
T T
U U j
R R
U U
|
| |

= (23)

where | = L
B
/(L
S
+L
B
). Then the recalculated values are
compared with the old ones until a convergence is attained.
Algorithm for the entrance conditions
This section describes the calculation algorithm, which is
used to generate the entrance conditions for the slug tracking
model. The input data required to apply this method is shown
in Table 1. This procedure is organized in six steps:
Generation of the data sequence
1) Generate as many random values as unit cells required
through Eq.(16).
2) Apply Eqs.(15), (17), (18) and (19) to each generated
value to calculate j
Gi
, L
Bi
and L
Si
.
3) Assume a value for R
S
. Use the Eq. (20) and the
procedures described in the bubble design model section
to calculate R
Bi
.
4) Calculate R
S
and R
B
through Eqs. (22) and (23).
5) Compare R
S
and R
B
from 4) with the assumed R
S
in 3)
and R
B
from the bubble design. The convergence criteria
are: 0.01% for R
S
and 0.1% for R
B
.
6) If the values in 5) dont converge, steps 3) and 4) are
repeated using the R
S
found in 5).

It is important to mention that in the data sequence
generated, some values of R
S
are not physically possible
because they are higher than 1. Thus, the entire unit cell must
be removed from the sequence. This filter makes that the
average value from the obtained sequence is not equals to the
value provided as input.
In this section, the methodology to reproduce entrance
conditions was presented. These entrance conditions reproduce
the intermittence through distributions obtained as function of
statistical variables and random values. Generated slug and
bubble length are evaluated using the liquid mass balance in
order to calculate the volume fraction. Thus, all the generated
cells satisfy the mass balance.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Once the methodology is implemented in the program, the
simulation through the slug tracking model can take place.
Simulations are performed in a processor PC Intel Core
TM
2
CPU 2.13 GHz with 2.00 GB RAM. For the slug tracking
model, the stop condition is the exit of 600 bubbles which take
an average of 20 minutes. Table 2 shows the geometric and
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physical characteristics of the experiments performed by Rosa
and Altemani [10] for air-water flow.
The experimental setup consists in a vertical tube with two
points for observation. The first one, called probe 1, is near the
entrance and the second one, probe 2, is near the exit. Two set
of data with different superficial gas velocities were selected to
be compared with the simulation results. The first (A@W#1)
has a low gas flow rate and the second (A@W#2) has a high
gas flow rate. Analyzed parameters are: the bubble translational
velocity, the slug and the bubble length and the pressure.

TABLE 2. Characteristics of the experimental data.

Pipe length, [m.] 5.81
Diameter, [m.] 0.026
Location of probe #1 [m.] 0.10 (3.85D)
Location of probe #2 [m.] 4.693 (180.5D)
Wake effect factor [a
w
] 8.0
Wake effect factor [b
w
] 1.06
Liquid density [kg/m
3
] 999
Liquid Viscosity [Pa.s] 0.000855
A@W#1
Superf liquid velocity
[m/s]
0.33
Superf gas velocity [m/s] 0.464
A@W#2
Superf liquid velocity
[m/s]
0.33
Superf gas velocity [m/s] 1.42

As the flow is intermittent, the variables will have different
values at each time-step. In order to evaluate the average flow
behavior, time averaged values are obtained. In Figure 4 and
Figure 5, the mean values along the pipe for A@W#1 and
A@W#2 are presented. For the bubble length, it is observed
that the model reproduces correctly the expansion of the bubble
due to the pressure drop for both cases. Best agreement is
obtained at the entrance.
In the numerical results, the slug length almost remains
constant along the pipe, showing a slight expansion.
Comparing with the experimental data, the values at the
entrance are higher and at the exit are lower, so the numerical
values stay in the middle of the experimental points. In other
words, the total mean slug length coincides with the
experimental.
For the translational velocity, it can be observed a good
agreement at the entrance. However, along the pipe the model
tends to slightly overestimate its value, which can be related to
the selected model to quantify the wake effect.
The pressure is well estimated for both cases. In vertical
flow the pressure drop is extremely related to the gravitational
term, which is why the simulated pressure is very close to the
experimental, as the gravitational term is independent from the
slug (or bubble) length.



FIGURE 4. MEAN VALUES ALONG THE PIPE FOR A@W#1



FIGURE 5. MEAN VALUES ALONG THE PIPE FOR A@W#2

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FIGURE 6. PROBABILITY DENSITY FUNCTIONS FOR A@W#1

In Figure 6 and Figure 7 the probability density functions
for the unit cell properties are presented. This statistical
measure represents the probability of a variable given an
interval. The numerical distribution for the bubble and liquid
slug length are similar with the experimental data at the
entrance for both cases, coinciding in the mean. At the exit, the
results adjusts better for A@W#1, for A@W#2 there is a
dislocation in the mean and in the distribution, as the
experimental values are more disperse than the numerical. This
concentration around the mean for the numerical results may be
caused by the adjustment of the wake factors, which are related
to the magnitude of the wake effect and the slug length.
For the translational bubble velocity, the data shows low
dispersion for the probe at the entrance. In this case,
Bendiksens correlations for C
0
and C

are important due to


its dependence with the gas superficial velocity and the fluid
properties. We are using a distribution for the gas superficial
velocity j
G
at the entrance, which is directly related to the
translational velocity U
T
. The slug tracking model, propagates
this parameter along the pipe which may cause a higher grade
of dispersion in its distribution.
In general, it can be observed that at the entrance all the
parameters are more concentrated around the mean. In addition,
a better agreement with the experimental data is observed at the
entrance. This shows that the intermittency is reproduced
correctly by the methodology presented in the entrance
conditions. On the other hand, at the exit the values are more
dispersed.



FIGURE 7. PROBABILITY DENSITY FUNCTIONS FOR A@W#2

As the slug tracking model is lagrangian, it allows follow
the evolution of a unit cell along its passage through the duct.
In order to guarantee a stable unit cell, it is chosen the 200
th

unit cell that enters the pipe. Figure 8 shows the translational
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velocity and the pressure of the 200
th
unit cell measured from a
reference frame travelling together with the bubble. It can be
observed that the intermittent condition introduces instabilities,
which causes oscillations. For the translational velocity, it can
be observed that in spite of the unstable behavior, the
instantaneous values oscillate around the mean value. In the
case of the pressure, instability is also observed, but showing a
decreasing tendency.



FIGURE 8. CAPTURED PROPERTIES FROM A TRACKED
BUBBLE
CONCLUSIONS
Simulation of two-phase vertical slug flow through the
slug tracking model was presented. This transient model, based
on the balance equations, considers aerated slugs and the
expansion of the gas in the elongated bubble due to the
pressure drop. The model consists in two governing equations
for each unit cell, whose solution through TDMA allows the
calculation the slug velocity and the bubble pressure at each
time step. The intermittency of the flow was reproduced by the
entrance conditions, based on stationary models and the theory
of statistical distributions.
The numerical results were compared with experimental
data for air-water flow. The analyzed results were the mean
values and the statistical distributions (PDF) of the main flow
parameters: L
B
, L
S
and U
T
. Evolution of the mean values and
distributions along the pipe presented qualitative similarities as
the experimental. It is observed that the model is able to
capture the intermittence of the unit cell length and the bubble
translational velocity. Results show that the model reproduces
the experimental data with good agreement in the mean and in
the distributions
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors acknowledge the financial support from the
National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels
(ANP) through its Human Resources Program in UTFPR
(PRH-10) and from TE/CENPES/PETROBRAS.
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