What is it about?

Gas-liquid flows present a problem of multidimensional complexity due to the infinitely deformable gas-liquid interface and the compressibility of the gas phase. The present study investigates the effect of gas injection methods in columns containing very high viscosity oils and more specifically using 360 Pa · s viscosity oil in a 240-mm diameter column using Electrical capacitance tomography (ECT). It has been observed that bubble length increases significantly by 0.3 m when the injection nozzle is located next to the wall of the pipe. Bubble velocity and length also increase by 0.217 m/s and 3.6 m, respectively, with increasing gas flowrate when multiple injection points are used. Increasing the distance between the gas injection points increased bubbles' length by 1.2 m. Bubbles' velocity and frequency (at higher gas flow rate) were also increased.

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Why is it important?

Predicting the behaviour of the flow in high viscosity liquids is essential in order to achieve a safe and efficient design of industrial equipment. Understanding the behaviour of highly viscous fluids is integral to many operations in the oil and gas industry for transport and processing of heavy oils and many refining applications, especially in handling lower distillation products in addition to drilling fluids that can be very viscous. It is also ubiquitous in chemical process industries (CPI) including bioreactors and polymer production like paints, plastic resins, and waxes. Another important relevant industry is the food industry, where there are very viscous liquids like gels, sugar solutions, and chocolate. Viscous fluids handling is also prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, certain natural phenomena such as volcanoes feature very high viscosity magma which is also mirrored in heavy metal moulding applications, including molten eutectic salts.

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This page is a summary of: An experimental study on the effect of gas injection configuration on flow characteristics in high viscosity oil columns, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, October 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/cjce.24312.
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