You are on page 1of 11

Proceedings of ETCE 2001

Engineering Technology Conference on Energy

February 5-7,2001, Houston, TX




Shoubo Wang, Luis E. Gomez, Ram S. Mohan and Ovadia Shoham

Petroleum and Mechanical Engg. Departments
The University of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK - 74104
Gene E. Kouba, Chevron Petroleum Technology Company
Houston, TX - 77082

ABSTRACT the minimum velocity for onset of liquid carry-over in the form
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone (GLCC1) separators are of mist flow) through developing mechanistic models, dynamic
becoming increasingly popular as attractive alternatives to models and experimental studies. Kouba et al.1; Gomez et al.2;
conventional separators as they are simple, less expensive, have Mohan et al.3, Wang et al4, 5, 6 and Chirinos et al7 provided the
low-weight, and require little maintenance. However, present details of GLCC design, control system studies, experimental
studies focus on GLCC designs and applications at relatively investigations and field applications. The configuration and
lower gas velocities (below the minimum velocity for onset of design of this technology is challenged by the inevitable liquid
liquid carry-over in the form of mist flow). With appropriate carry-over in the form of droplet and liquid film in an annular
modifications GLCCs can be used for wet gas and high gas oil region at high gas velocities. Figure 1 shows the schematic of
ratio (GOR) applications, characterized by higher gas the current GLCC compact separator equipped with a liquid
velocities, to knock out the liquid droplets from the gas core. control valve on the liquid leg and a gas control valve on the
The objectives of this study are to design a novel GLCC gas leg for controlling the liquid level and/or pressure in the
capable of separating liquid from a wet gas stream; conduct GLCC. It is simply a segment of pipe mounted vertically with
experimental investigations to evaluate the GLCC performance an inclined inlet section. Gas-liquid mixture is introduced into
improvement in terms of operational envelope for liquid carry- the GLCC through a tangential inlet nozzle, which has a cross-
over; and, measure the liquid extraction from the gas stream. sectional area of approximately 25% of the full-bore inlet pipe.
Specific design guidelines for wet gas GLCC are also Gravitational and centrifugal forces in the inlet region of the
formulated based on the experimental studies. This GLCC separate gas-liquid mixture. Liquid phase goes down
investigation provides new capabilities for compact separators through the liquid leg exiting the separator from the bottom of
for wet gas and high GOR (exceeding 90%) applications. the GLCC. Gas phase goes up through the gas leg exiting the
separator from the top of the GLCC. The liquid level control
INTRODUCTION and/or pressure control ensure proper operation for different
The development of gas liquid cylindrical cyclone flow conditions, eliminating or reducing liquid carry-over into
separators has had tremendous impact on the oil and gas the gas stream and/or gas carry-under into the liquid stream.
industry due to their compactness and efficiency, which are The liquid carry-over operational envelope for metering loop
crucial for offshore and subsea applications. To date, GLCC configuration and percent liquid carry-over at flow conditions
technology has been focused on the design, control and close to the operational envelope were studied by Chirinos et
performance evaluation at relatively low gas velocities (below al7. Their study focused on the performance of the GLCC at low
gas superficial velocity, say, less than the onset of mist flow
velocity. The onset of mist flow velocity, υ crit , is defined as the
GLCC© - Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone - copyright, The
University of Tulsa, 1994

1 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

minimum gas velocity, which is required to initiate liquid carry- GLCC wall, forming a thin swirling liquid film. Part of the
over in the form of fine droplets (Kouba et al1), namely, swirling liquid film is forced upward by the high gas swirling
flow. Due to the high tangential velocity of the upward swirling
 ρl − ρ g 
gas flow, these fine liquid droplets move both radially toward
υ crit = 0.6812  σ We  (1) the GLCC wall and axially toward the gas stream exit. On the
 ρ g2 
  other hand, the gas core with high axial velocity tends to entrain
the liquid from the liquid film due to the interfacial forces. But
where We is the Weber number, equal to 8 for small droplets. the high centrifugal forces can push the droplets toward the wall
if the tangential velocity is high enough. Due to its decay in the
As the operating pressure increases, the onset of mist flow
axial upward direction, the magnitude of the tangential velocity
velocity decreases significantly, which causes a very narrow
may not be high enough to keep the liquid droplets near the
liquid carry-over operational envelope.
wall. As a result, the liquid is re-entrained into the upward
As more and more GLCCs are deployed in the field, the
flowing gas core and causes liquid carry-over. The location of
need for high GOR and wet gas applications becomes critical
the liquid film extractor should be optimal so as to enable the
for oil and gas industry to handle high gas rates above the
liquid droplets in the gas core to be separated by the centrifugal
critical velocity. The GLCC design is not optimized for these
forces, and is removed in form of liquid film before it is re-
applications due to liquid carry-over in the form of droplets and
entrained in the gas stream.
annular liquid film. Although demisting devices can be
If the gas velocity is not high enough, the fine liquid
installed in the gas leg to remove liquid particles from the gas
droplets cannot be forced towards the GLCC inner wall. As a
stream, it may not be the best solution due to high maintenance
result, the liquid swirling upward film flow cannot be formed,
costs and pressure losses. Stewart et al.8 gives an overview of
thereby, reducing the separation efficiency. On the other hand, if
advantages and disadvantages of current demisting devices.
the gas velocity is too high, liquid film will be re-entrained in
The objectives of this study are to design a novel GLCC
the gas core and carried over. It may be noted that at high liquid
capable of separating liquid from a wet gas stream; conduct
flow rates, more liquid is pushed up and forms a thicker liquid
experimental investigations to evaluate the GLCC performance
upward swirling film, which is easier to be picked up by the gas
improvement in terms of operational envelope for liquid carry-
over; and, measure the liquid extraction from the gas stream.
Specific design guidelines for wet gas GLCC are also
developed based on the experimental studies.
The mechanistic model used in this study is composed of sub
models published precisely. These sub models are reviewed
briefly below.
The current GLCC configuration cannot tolerate very high gas
Liquid Entrainment in the Inlet Pipe. The liquid droplet
velocity due to the occurrence of liquid carry-over in the gas
entrainment in the gas core at the inlet section is an important
stream. A schematic of the modified GLCC for high gas velocity
parameter for predicting the liquid phase split and separation
is shown in Fig. 2. The modifications are the addition of the
efficiency. Meng et al.9 conducted experimental study of low
liquid film extractor and the liquid return pipe, which is
liquid loading gas-liquid flow in near-horizontal pipes. Based
connected to the liquid leg. The liquid film extractor consists of
on their data, the liquid droplet entrainment fraction for slightly
an annular, spacing between the vortex tube (GLCC section
inclined pipe can be above 80% for high gas velocities. Ishii’s
near and above the inlet) and the vortex finder (upper part of
correlation10 matched the experimental data only for
the GLCC), and a liquid outlet at the bottom of the extractor.
entrainment fractions less than 40%. At present, no correlation
There are two vortex finder configurations possible, namely,
is available for high entrainment rates.
regular pipe and reduced pipe, as shown in Fig. 3. The upper
Inlet Nozzle Analysis. A mechanistic model to determine
end of the vortex tube is machined from inside, forming an
liquid film and gas core velocities through the inlet nozzle was
inside cone with a sharp edge at the top. Similarly, the lower
developed by Gomez et al.2. The model is flow pattern
end of the vortex finder is machined outside and an outside
dependent, which considers the annular and mist flow patterns.
cone is formed with a sharp edge at the bottom.
This model provides the liquid film analysis and gas core
The mechanisms responsible for gas-liquid separation in a
analysis, where the liquid entrainment, as suggested by Gomez
wet gas GLCC are described below. Gas liquid mixture at high
et al., is determined by Wallis correlation.
velocities flows into the GLCC through an inclined tangential
Gas Swirling Flow Characterization. The inlet nozzle
inlet nozzle, in the form of annular mist flow. The liquid phase
analysis will provide the gas and liquid tangential velocities and
enters mainly through the lower part of the nozzle and is forced
the liquid droplet separation process. The gas upward swirling
downward along the GLCC wall with high tangential velocity
flow model can be used to predict the minimum droplet size
and is separated from the gas phase. The gas phase with fine
being forced to the GLCC wall.
liquid droplets enters through the upper part of the nozzle. Due
A concept to quantify the swirling decay along the upper
to the centrifugal forces the liquid droplets are forced to the
part of the GLCC was suggested by Chang and Dhir11 (1994).

2 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

They considered a local swirl intensity factor, Ω , which is swirling liquid rivulet spiraling upwards forced by the gas flow
defined as the ratio of tangential to total axial momentum flux at at high velocities.
a given cross section. The equation of motion of a droplet was used to calculate
The local swirl intensity, Ω , as a function of the axial the velocity field at any location in the upper part of GLCC.
location is given by, The radial motion of a droplet can be determined by balancing
the droplet centrifugal/buoyancy and drag forces in the radial
0 .93  0 .35 0 .7  (2) direction (local equilibrium). The expression for radial droplet
 M   M inlet   z 
Ω = 1.48  inlet  exp − 0 .113      slip velocity was simplified by considering the swirling decay
  d sep  
 M GLCC    M GLCC     factor, Ω(z), yielding:
 2 v sg Ω ( z )   ρl − ρ g  3dd (6)
v dr (r) =     r
M inlet m& t2
Asep  d   ρ  Cd
= 2 (3)  sep   g 
M GLCC m& sep A phase

Similarly, by balancing the gravitational/buoyancy and drag

where, m& t is the corresponding total liquid or gas mass forces axially, the droplet slip velocity in the axial direction, as
per Stokes’ law, assuming laminar flow, is given as:
flow rate through the slot , m& sep is the total liquid or gas mass
flow rate in the GLCC, and Asep and Aphase are the cross (ρ p − ρ g ) d d2
sectional area of the GLCC, and the actual area occupied by the v dz (r) = (7)
liquid or gas phases at the slot, respectively. 18 µ g
For simplicity a linear tangential velocity distribution is
adopted and is given by,
The velocity used for the drag force calculation, vdd, is
based on the resultant of the relative velocities of the droplet,
r (4)
v c t (r) = vt w(z) and is given by,
R sep

v dd ( r ) = v dr2 ( r ) + v dz2 (r ) (8)

Furthermore, the maximum value of the tangential velocity
at the wall can be determined by using the swirling intensity
concept. Once Ω is determined at any cross-section of the The expression for drag coefficient, Cd, as suggested by
GLCC, one can obtain the maximum tangential velocity, which Magnaudet13 (1997), is given as,
occurs at the wall of the pipe, for any axial location is given by
Gomez et al.12,
Cd =
1 + 0.15 Re 0.687 ) (9)

3 (5)
v t w (z) = v avg Ω
where Re is the Reynolds number of the droplet, which is
calculated based on diameter, dd, density, ρd, and the resultant
Droplet Trajectory. Gomez et al.12 (1999) presented a model relative velocity, vdd, of the droplet, and the viscosity the
to analyze the upper part of the GLCC, where due to the continuous phase, µg.
turbulence intensity of the swirling gas flow, droplets move The droplet moves radially at an absolute velocity, var(r),
radially towards the wall of the GLCC with an absolute velocity which can be equated to vdr(r) by neglecting the radial velocity
var = vdr and axially upward with an absolute velocity, vaz = – vsg of the continuous phase, vgr(r). The axial velocity of the droplet,
+ vdz(r). Noted that vdr and vdz are the relative droplet velocities vaz(r), is equivalent to the resultant of the surrounding fluid
in the radial and axial directions, respectively (neglecting the velocity vgz(r) and the droplet velocity vdz(r). Equating the time
fluid radial velocity), and vsg is the superficial gas velocity in period for the radial and axial movements of the droplet and
the axial direction. In this case, the particle trajectory model is solving for axial distance yields the governing equation of
used to obtain the droplet trajectory by performing a numerical droplet trajectory in a swirling flow field. Integration of this
simulation of the droplet locations for successive time intervals, equation along the radial direction gives the total trajectory of
starting from the instant at which the droplet is released at the the droplet, namely,
GLCC center above the inlet. If a droplet travels sufficiently
radially outwards hitting the GLCC walls, it may form a

3 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

v az (r) ± v gz (r) ± v dz (r) (10) If the operating conditions are below the operational
∆z d = ∫ dr = ∫ (± dr ) envelope, no liquid carry-over is occurs. If the operating
v ar (r) ± v dr (r)
condition is above the operational envelope, liquid carry-over is
The gas vortex characterization around the inlet region can observed. Figure 5 shows the experimental results of the
be used to predict the liquid phase split around the inlet region operational envelopes for different GLCC configurations;
and the film thickness of the upward swirling film. The
principal factors that contribute to the separation efficiency are 1. Operational envelope for the original GLCC without
the interface shape, gas velocity distribution and the pressure liquid level control.
distribution in the vortex. The interfacial interaction between 2. Operational envelope for the original GLCC with
the gas core and the liquid swirling film in the upper part of the liquid level control.
GLCC depends upon the mechanisms of liquid droplet 3. Operational envelope for the modified GLCC for wet
formation, interface shape and the interface turbulence intensity. gas applications with liquid level control.

As can be seen, the operational envelope for the original

GLCC terminates at a superficial gas velocity of 20 ft/s. Beyond
Experimental Facilities. Experimental facilities include a
this gas velocity, the gas will blow out through the liquid leg
standard air-water two-phase flow loop with upstream metering
because of the low liquid level in the GLCC. The liquid level
section using Coriolis mass flow meters for air and water,
control extends the operational envelope both in the high liquid
GLCC test section, data acquisition and control systems. Figure
velocity and high gas velocity regions. But the operational
4 shows the GLCC test section, which is a 3” GLCC with a 3”
envelope terminates at superficial gas velocity of 33 ft/s, which
inclined inlet pipe and a tangential inlet nozzle with an opening
is the gas critical velocity for the onset of mist flow. Beyond
area of 25% percent of the inlet pipe cross section area. The
this gas velocity, mist flow occurs at the upper part of the
liquid film extractor is located just above the inlet. A liquid
GLCC and liquid is carried-over either by fine droplets or by
control valve in the liquid leg is used to control the liquid level
liquid film along the pipe wall. With the modified GLCC, high
using the liquid level signal provided by the liquid level sensor,
velocity of the gas core through the tangential nozzle pushes the
and a gas control valve in the gas leg is used to control the
liquid droplets in the gas core towards the pipe wall forming an
operating pressure using the pressure signal provided by the
upward liquid film swirling flow. The liquid film extractor
pressure transducer. The liquid film extractor just above the
removes all the upward liquid film before the liquid gets re-
inlet consists of a 4” trap annular, a 1” spacing between the
entrained into the gas core. Therefore, the modified GLCC can
vortex tube and the vortex finder and a 1.5” liquid return pipe to
the liquid leg. The upper end of the vortex tube is machined operate at very high gas velocities (beyond ν crit = 33 ft/s) and
inside the pipe wall and forms a small pipe extension with a still can tolerate superficial liquid velocities up to 0.5 ft/s. The
sharp edge. The lower end of the vortex finder is machined operational envelope for the modified GLCC terminates at
outside and forms a cone with a sharp edge. superficial gas velocity of 58 ft/s because of the capacity
Experimental Results. The experimental results include the limitation of the compressor. The operational envelope can
operational envelopes for liquid carry-over and measurement of extend further in the higher gas velocity region until the axial
liquid extraction by the liquid film extractor. gas velocity is high enough to re-entrain the liquid into the gas
Operational Envelope. The operational envelope for liquid core.
carry-over is a plot of superficial gas velocity ( vsg ) versus the Measurement of Liquid Extraction. It is very difficult to
measure the liquid carry-over for a conventional GLCC
superficial liquid velocity ( vsl ) for the onset of the liquid carry- operating at high gas velocities due to the occurrence of mist
over observed in the gas stream. The procedure for generating flow of the gas stream. This can be achieved using the liquid
the operational envelope experimentally is as follows: film extractor of the modified GLCC at high gas velocities for
liquid superficial velocities below the operational envelope, say,
1. Start with high liquid superficial velocities and low gas less than 0.5 ft/s. At these gas and liquid flow conditions the
superficial velocities. liquid film extractor can extract all the liquid flowing upwards
without any liquid carry-over in the gas stream. This can be
2. Fix vsl and match vsg until the onset of the liquid
considered to be the actual liquid carry-over for a conventional
carry-over in the gas stream is observed. GLCC. The experimental results are presented as two cases, one
3. Record the corresponding values of vsl and vsg . based on the liquid superficial velocity and the other based on
the liquid loading.
Repeat for lower vsl and higher vsg for the onset of Case 1: In this case, several superficial liquid velocities
liquid carry-over. between 0.1 ft/s and 0.5 ft/s were tested for different superficial
4. Plot the operational envelope, namely, vsl vs. vsg . gas velocities to obtain the amount of liquid extraction in terms
of absolute quantity and as percentage of the inlet liquid

4 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

volumetric flow rate. The procedure for obtaining the data is as velocity. This can be expected intuitively due to the
follows: presence of more liquid in the upper part of the GLCC.

1. Choose a vsl , which is less than the maximum value Figure 7 shows the plots of the same data as percentage of
the inlet liquid volumetric flow rate. As can be seen, the liquid
(0.5 ft/s) that the GLCC can tolerate for high gas
extraction trend for different flow conditions is similar to the
plots in Fig. 6. But at high gas velocities (larger than 55 ft/s), all
2. Increase vsg until the formation of the upward liquid the liquid extraction curves overlap for different liquid flow
swirling film is observed (around 40 ft/s at rates. It can be noted that the liquid extraction is in the range of
atmospheric pressure) while maintaining the same vsl ; 0.5-3.2%.
Case 2: Percent liquid extraction for different inlet liquid
3. Wait until the gas and liquid flow reach steady-state; loading. The liquid loading is defined as,
4. Close the valve at the bottom of the liquid return pipe
and record the initial level and time starting to trap cft Liquid ………………..(11)
liquid in the return pipe from the liquid extractor; Liquid Loading =
MMcft Gas
5. Read and record the level increment after a known
time interval for one data point;
The procedure for obtaining the data is as follows:
6. Increase vsg by 5 ft//s while keeping the vsl constant,
repeat steps 4 and 5 for another data point; 1. Fix a liquid loading;
7. Repeat step 6 until the maximum vsg (60 ft/s) is 2. Choose a vsg , determine the corresponding liquid
reached for one set of data; flow rate based on the liquid loading;
8. Modify the vsl and repeat steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 for 3. Follow steps 3, 4 and 5 of case 1;
another set of data; 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for different vsg at same liquid
Figure 6 shows the plots of absolute quantity of liquid 5. Repeat 2, 3 and 4 for different liquid loading.
extraction versus vsg for different vsl . The following
Figure 8 shows the percent liquid extraction for different
observations can be made:
liquid loadings. The following observations can be made:
• The liquid extraction trend is different for higher and
• For lower liquid loading (less than 1800), the liquid
lower superficial liquid velocities. At higher
extraction curves nearly overlap in the whole range of
vsl (exceeding 0.4 ft/s), the amount of the liquid superficial gas velocities.
extraction decreases with the increase of vsg initially, • For higher liquid loading (larger that 1800), the
percent liquid extraction is much larger than that for
and increases after a vsg of 55 ft/s. However, at lower lower liquid loading in the relatively lower gas
vsl (less than 0.4 ft/s) the liquid extraction increases velocity (less than 55 ft/s) region. For vsg larger than
with the increase of vsg . The liquid extraction is fairly 55 ft/s, the percent liquid extraction curves overlap for
different liquid loading conditions.
constant at vsl of 0.4 ft/s. This phenomenon can be
explained through the inlet nozzle analysis. At higher GLCC Design Guidelines for Wet Gas Applications
liquid flow rates (0.5 ft/s), the liquid film level at the The GLCC design guidelines for wet gas applications are
inlet nozzle is relatively high and sensitive to the gas formulated based on the physical flow mechanisms,
flow rate. With the increase of the gas flow rate, the experimental data and modeling. These design guidelines
liquid is accelerated through the nozzle and more should be considered as the limiting design parameters
liquid is pushed downwards due to the inclined inlet. appropriate for each element of the GLCC, to ensure proper
As a result, the liquid extraction decreases with the performance for wet gas operations. The specific elemental
increase of vsg . When the gas velocity reaches, say, 55 GLCC design criteria are given below:
ft/s, this nozzle effect is diminished and more liquid is GLCC Diameter: The GLCC diameter is determined by the
picked up by the gas core. superficial gas velocity. Based on the experimental data at low
• The amount of liquid extraction increases with the pressures, the axial gas velocity in the GLCC should be high
increase of liquid superficial velocity at the same gas enough, say, twice the critical velocity, to push the liquid
droplet to the wall and take the liquid film up to the liquid

5 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

extractor, but low enough to maintain the angle of upward GLCC below the inlet should be sufficient enough to maintain a
swirling liquid film flat. The recommended gas velocity in the finite liquid column below the vortex, for different flow
GLCC is between 2-3 times of the critical velocity. In order to conditions. This will provide sufficient residence time for the
avoid liquid carry-over in the gas stream, the liquid superficial separation of bubbles from the liquid phase and prevent the
velocity should be less than 0.5 ft/s. entrapment of bubbles in the exiting liquid stream. The
Inclined Inlet Diameter and Inclination Angle: The inlet recommended value for the length of the lower part of the
diameter should be as large as possible to promote liquid GLCC is 4 to 5-ft minimum for GLCCs less than 1-ft diameter.
stratification. For annular/mist flow, the pipe diameter is not as For larger diameter GLCCs, it should be based on bubble
important as that for liquid dominated flow. It is recommended trajectory analysis.
that the inclined pipe diameter is the same as the GLCC body Liquid and Gas Exit Pipes: The diameters of the liquid
due to high gas velocity. The inclination angle of the inlet is and gas exit pipes should be determined based on the
very important for the liquid split through the inlet nozzle. The downstream equipment. The performance of the GLCC will not
recommended inclination angle is between –200 to –300 based be affected by the configurations of the liquid and gas exit pipe
on the experimental data. The length of the inlet pipe should be if the liquid level is very well maintained in the GLCC by a
around 10 times that of the GLCC diameter to promote liquid suitable level control system. For a metering loop configuration
stratification. without liquid level control, the liquid and gas leg should be
Inlet Nozzle Area: The inlet nozzle area should be small properly designed so that the pressure drops along the liquid
enough to ensure that the mixture tangential velocity is in the and gas legs are balanced to maintain the liquid level in the
range of 4-5 times of the axial gas velocity in the GLCC, in GLCC in an acceptable range.
order to force the fine liquid droplet to the pipe wall. But it
should be as large as possible to reduce the chances of liquid CONCLUSIONS
droplet formation through the nozzle. Also, the tangential • A modified GLCC for wet gas applications has been
velocities at the GLCC entrance should be lower than the developed and tested. The liquid film extractor and the
erosion velocity in accordance to the API RP14E or any other liquid return pipe enable the GLCC to be operated at high
appropriate erosion guidelines. gas velocities (beyond the critical velocity) without liquid
Liquid Film Extractor: It includes the extractor annulus, carry-over in the gas stream.
length of the low part of the annulus, spacing between the • Detailed experimental investigations have been conducted
vortex tube and the vortex finder and the liquid return pipe. The to evaluate the performance of the modified GLCC in terms
dimension of the annulus is recommended to be one fifth of of operational envelope for liquid carry-over and liquid
GLCC diameter. The length of the lower part of the annulus extraction by the liquid film extractor at high gas velocities.
should be large enough to collect the extracted liquid without • The separation mechanism is high “g” forces pushing the
flooding the extractor (one half of the GLCC diameter). The liquid droplets to the GLCC wall and forming an upward
spacing of the liquid extractor should be wide enough to let the swirling film. The liquid film is extracted by a liquid film
liquid film diverge to the annulus, but small enough to ensure extractor, which is installed just above the inlet, and is
no secondary flow around the gap (between one fourth and one returned to the liquid stream through a liquid return pipe.
third of the GLCC diameter). It is necessary to machine the top • The experimental results show that the operational
end of the vortex tube and form an inside cone to divert the envelope for liquid carry-over expands in the high gas
liquid film to the annulus through the gap. Also, it is necessary velocity region (up to 60 ft/s) and the highest liquid
to machine the bottom end of the vortex finder or use a reduced velocity that can be tolerated is about 0.5 ft/s. The Results
diameter pipe to form an outside cone so as to enable the liquid also show that the liquid film extractor can remove all the
droplets to hit its outside and fall down to the annulus. The upward swirling liquid film along the upper part of the
diameter of the liquid return pipe should be large enough to GLCC wall without any liquid carry-over through the gas
drain the extracted liquid and provide a stable liquid level, stream for high gas velocities, say, 40-60 ft/s, and low
which can be used as a reliable level signal to control the liquid liquid velocities, say, less than 0.5 ft/s.
level in the GLCC. • The preliminary design guidelines based on the models and
GLCC Height (upper and lower parts): The length of the the experimental investigations are provided for high GOR
upper part of the GLCC above the inlet should be long enough and wet gas applications.
to install the liquid film extractor. The optimal location of the
liquid film extractor should be based on the droplet trajectory to
allow the fine droplets move to the GLCC wall. But it should be NOMENCLATURE
close to the upper part of the inlet to avoid liquid re-entrained in
A = cross sectional area (ft2)
the gas core. The recommended location of the liquid film
d = diameter (ft)
extractor is 2-3 times of the GLCC diameter above the inlet.
Cd = drag coefficient (-)
The length of the vortex finder is determined by the
construction limitation. The length of the lower part of the M = momentum (lbf)

6 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

m& = mass rate (Lbm/s) Transactions, Journal of Energy Resources Technology,
r = radial distance (ft) December 2000.
6. Wang, S., Mohan, R.S., Shoham, O., Marrelli, J. D. and Kouba,
R = pipe radius (ft)
G.E.: "Performance Improvement of Gas Liquid Cylindrical
Re = Reynolds number (-) Cyclone Separators Using Integrated Liquid Level and Pressure
v = velocity (ft/s) Control Systems," ASME Transactions, Journal of Energy
We = Weber number Resources Technology, December 2000.
z = axial distance (ft) 7. Chirinos, W.A., Gomez, L.E., Wang, S., Mohan, R., Shoham, O.
Greek Letters and Kouba, G.E., "Liquid Carry-over in Gas-Liquid Cylindrical
Cyclone Compact Separators," SPE Journal, Vol.5, No.3,
∆ = incremental September 2000, pp259-267.
µ = viscosity (lbf s/ft2) 8. Stewart, A.C., Chamberlain, N.P. and Irshad, M.:“A New
ρ = density (lbm/ft3) Approach to Gas-Liquid Separation,” SPE 50685, presented at
Ω = swirl intensity (-) the SPE European Petroleum Conference, Hague, Netherlands,
October 20-22, 1998.
σ = surface tension ( dyne/cm)
9. Meng, W., Chen, T.X., Kouba, G.E., Sarica, C. and Brill, J.P.:
Subscripts “Experimental Study of Low Liquid Loading Gas-Liquid Flow in
a = absolute Near-Horizontal Pipes,” SPE 56466, presented at the SPE 74
avg = average Annual Meeting, Houston, October 3-6, 2000.
crit = critical 10. Ishii, M. and Mishiam, K.: “Droplet Entrainment Correlation in
d = droplet Annular Flow,” Int. J. of Heat Mass Transfer (1989) 32, No. 10,
g = gas 1835.
inlet= inlet 11. Chang, F. and Dhir, V. K.: “Turbulent Flow Field in
l = liquid Tangentially Injected Swirl Flows in Tubes,” Int. J. Heat
dd = resultant velocity of droplet and Fluid Flow, October 1994, vol. 15, pp. 346-356.
r = radial coordinate 12. Gomez, L.E., Mohan, R.S., Shoham, O., Marrelli, J.D. and
s = superficial Kouba, G.E.: “Aspect Ratio Modeling and Design Procedure for
sep = separator GLCC Compact Separators,” ASME J. Energy Resources
t = tangential Technology, vol. 121 (1), March 1999, 15-23.
w = wall 13. Magnaudet, J. J.: “The Forces Acting on Bubbles and
z = axial coordinate Rigid Particles,” FEDSM, ASME, Vancouver, Canada,
June 22, 1997.
The authors wish to thank Tulsa University Separation
Technology Projects (TUSTP) member companies for
supporting this project.

1. Kouba, G.E., Shoham, O. and Shirazi, S.: “Design and
Performance of Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators,”
Proceedings of the BHR Group 7th International Meeting on
Multiphase Flow, Cannes, France, June 7-9, 1995, pp. 307-327.
2. Gomez, L.E., Mohan, R. S., Shoham, O., and Kouba, G.E.:
“Enhanced Mechanistic Model and Field Application Design of
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators,” SPE 49174,
presented at SPE Annual Meeting, New Orleans, September 27-
30, 1998.
3. Mohan, R., Wang, S., Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.: “Design and
Performance of Passive Control System for Gas-Liquid
Cylindrical Cyclone Separators,” ASME J. Energy Resources
Technology, v. 120(1), March 1998, pp. 49-55.
4. Wang, S., Mohan, R., Shoham, O. Marrelli, J.D. and Kouba, G.:
“Optimal Control Strategy and Experimental Investigation of
Gas-Liquid Compact Separators,” SPE 63120, presented at the
SPE 75 Annual Meeting, Dallas, October 1-4, 2000.
5. Wang, S., Mohan, R.S., Shoham, O., Marrelli, J. D. and Kouba,
G.E.: "Development of Integrated Control Strategies and System
Simulators for Gas Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone," ASME

7 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

Fig. 1 – Schematic of GLCC Co mpact Separator

Gas Outlet
Pressure Sensor
Vortex Finder

Liquid Film Extractor

Vortex Tube

Liquid Return Pipe

Gas-Liquid Liquid Level
Inlet Controller

Liquid Outlet
Level Sensor LCV

Fig. 2 – Schematic of Modified GLCC Compact Separator for Wet Gas Applications

8 Copyright © 2001 by ASME

Vortex Finder
Annular Annulus
Liquid Film
Liquid Film Extraction Spacing
Return Liquid Return
Spacing Vortex Pipe
Pipe Vortex Tube

a: Regular Pipe Vortex Finder b: Reduced Diameter Vortex Finder

Fig. 3 – Schematic of Liquid Film Extractor

Figure 4 - Test Section

9 Copyright © 2001 by ASME


LC recombined outlet
No LC recombined outlet
2.5 Modified GLCC

Vsl (ft/s)


0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 5. Operational Envelope for Liquid Carry -Over


Vsl=0.5 ft/s Vsl=0.4 ft/s

Vsl=0.3 ft/s Vsl=0.2 ft/s
Vsl=0.1 ft/s
Absolute Liquid Extraction (cf/min)






35 40 45 50 55 60
Vsg (ft/s)

Fig. 6 – Liquid Extraction – Absolute Quantity for Different Liquid Rates

10 Copyright © 2001 by ASME


Vsl=0.5 ft/s
4 Vsl=0.4 ft/s
Vsl=0.3 ft/s

Percent Liquid Extraction (%)

3.5 Vsl=0.2 ft/s
Vsl=0.1 ft/s




35 40 45 50 55 60
Gas Velocity (ft/s)

Fig. 7 – Liquid Extraction – Percentage for Different Liquid Rates

Liquid Loading=900 Liquid Loading=1200

Liquid Loading=1800 Liquid Loading=2500
Liquid Loading=8000
Percent Liquid Extraction (%)



35 40 45 50 55 60
Vsg (ft/s)

Fig. 8 – Liquid Extraction – Percentage for Different Liquid Loading

11 Copyright © 2001 by ASME