Simulation of gas-liquid two phase flow in upriser pipe of gas-lift systems

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Center of Excellence in Design and Optimization of Energy Systems, School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 School of Mechanical Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


Gas-lift pumps are devices for lifting liquid phase incorporating the gas phase to be injected in the bottom of liquid column. They are widely used in various industrial applications such as oil extracting in petroleum industries. Gas-liquid flow being the main part of the flow through these systems, flowing in vertical pipes of gas-lift pumps has different regimes namely bubbly, slug, churn and annular. Considering each numerical method to be appropriate for modeling a certain flow regime, a suitable numerical approach is crucial to correct simulation of gas-liquid flow in upriser pipe of gas-lift systems. In this paper, two main approaches namely the volume of fluid (VOF) and Eulerian model are used for modeling of the two phase flow in the upriser pipe of the airlift system. The numerical results are compared with the experimental investigations to validate the numerical models. The two phase flow regimes simulated by the numerical method were compared with the available flow regime map in the literatures. The results indicate that using the VOF is more appropriate for modeling of bubbly and slug flows while the Eulerian model fits better for only annular flow regime.