A comparison of numerical simulations with experimental and theoretical investigations of highly-viscous oil-aqueous foam horizontal flow

Jie Sun, Liejin Guo*, Jiaqiang Jing, Linlin Duan, Yingda Lu, Amos Ullmann, Neima Brauner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

A possible innovative technology of foam injection for facilitating the transportation of heavy oils is explored. To this aim, a numerical study on flow characteristics of highly viscous oil flowing through a 25 mm i. d. horizontal pipe under the action of aqueous foam was conducted. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) multiphase flow modeling method embodied in ANSYS Fluent was applied to simulate the Newtonian oil/non-Newtonian foam two-phase flow. Simulations were conducted covering oil and foam superficial velocities of 0.1–0.9 m/s and 0.05–0.84 m/s, respectively, corresponding to the experimental range. Cross-sectional axial velocity profiles, oil volume fractions, phase-distribution and pressure gradients were extracted from the CFD simulations. The flow patterns were compared to actual images taken from a high-speed, high resolution camera. Pressure gradients, drag reduction ratios and oil-transport efficiencies were compared with the experimental data and mechanistic model predictions. Good agreement was achieved among the simulated, experimental and predicted data over a wide range of operational conditions. With the complete encapsulation of the oil core by the foam annulus, a critical foam fraction can be established to reach maximum drag reduction ratio. An optimum foam/oil flow rate ratio for the highest oil-transport operational coefficient was identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108507
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Volume201
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Funding

FundersFunder number
Hildebrand Department of Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin
Cockrell School of Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
Sichuan Province Science and Technology Support Program2019YJ0350
National Natural Science Foundation of China51888103, U19B2012, 51527808, 51779212
China Postdoctoral Science Foundation2020M683498

    Keywords

    • Aqueous foam
    • Core-annular flow
    • Eccentric core
    • Highly viscous oil
    • Non-Newtonian lubricant

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