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# SLUG FLOW ANALYSIS

1. INTRODUCTION 2. TYPE OF TWO-PHASE FLOW (FLOW REGIMES IN HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL) 3. BAKER PAREMETER 4. EXAMPLE OF PROCESS CALC 5. EFFECT OF SLUG FLOW 6. METHODS TO AVOID SLUG FLOW 7. SLUG FORCE CALC. 8. RESTRAINT APPLICATION 9. SLUG FLOW ANALYSIS ON CAESAR - STATIC METHOD 10. SLUG FLOW ANALYSIS ON CAESAR - DYNAMIC METHOD

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## TWO PHASE FLOW

Two-phase flow can be defined as the flow in which the fluid occurs in both the liquid and gas phases. It is a very important consideration in process plant piping.

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## Significance of Two-Phase flow

If Two-phase flow is not considered during design, pressure drop will be underestimated. Higher than the expected pressure drop can reduce plant capacity. Ignoring Two-phase flow may also lead to poor process control. Two-phase flow to a control valve is difficult to regulate smoothly and reproducibly. If Two-phase flow is not considered in piping layout & supporting, it will lead to severe vibration causing enormous load on the piping as well as the structure attached to.

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Types of Flow
Two Phase Flow

## Segregated Flow Each phase (gas as well as liquid) is continuous. Types

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Intermittent Flow Each phase is discontinuous. Types Plug Flow Slug Flow

Distributed flow One phase is continuous and the other is discontinuous. Types Bubble Flow (Liquid phase is continuous) Mist or Dispersed Flow (Gas phase is continuous)

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

BUBBLE FLOW In bubble flow, the volumetric liquid rate is high relative to the gas rate. Liquid occupies the bulk of the pipe cross-section and gas flows in the form of small bubbles. The gas and liquid velocities are nearly equal. Due to buoyancy effects, the bubble concentration is higher towards the top of the pipe.

Occurrence This type of flow can be expected when the vapor content is less than 30% of total weight flow rate.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Plug Flow The transition from bubble flow to plug flow is marked by a change from a distributed to an intermittent flow regime. Holding the volumetric gas rate constant but decreasing the liquid rate causes the bubbles to coalesce, and alternating plugs of gas and liquid flow along the top of the pipe with liquid remaining in the continuous phase along the bottom.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Stratified Flow Moving from plug to stratified flow represents a transition from intermittent to segregated flow. As the liquid rate continues to decrease but the gas rate is still held constant, the plugs become separate, continuous phases. Gas flows along the top of the pipe and liquid flows along the bottom. The interface between phases is relatively smooth, and the friction occupied by each phase remains constant along the length of the pipe.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Wavy Flow

When the gas rate is now increased in stratified flow, a transition to wavy flow occurs. In this regime, the gas moves appreciably faster than the liquid and the resulting friction at the interface causes waves to be formed. The wave amplitude increases with increasing gas rate.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Slug Flow

If the liquid rate is now increased, a transition from segregated to intermittent flow occurs. The higher liquid rate causes the wave crests to touch the top of the pipe and form frothy slugs. The velocity of these liquid slugs and the alternating large gas bubbles is greater than the average liquid velocity. The large gas bubbles occupy nearly the whole pipe cross-sectional area.

Occurrence: This type of flow may occur in a pocketed line between an overhead condenser at grade and an elevated reflux drum. Discharge lines from pressure safety valves, rupture discs may have slug flow. Slug flow will not occur in a gravity flow line.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Annular Flow At higher velocities, the flow regime transitions from intermittent to segregated. The high gas velocity causes the liquid to flow as an annular film of varying thickness along the pipe wall, while the gas flows as a high-speed core down the middle. There is a significant velocity difference between the two phases. In fact, the gas can shear liquid from the annular film and carry it along in the core as entrained droplets. Due to gravity, the annular film on the wall is thicker at the bottom of the pipe than at the top. This effect diminishes at higher flowing velocities.

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## Flow Regime in Horizontal Pipe

Mist/Spray Flow The mist flow regime evolves from annular flow when the gas velocity increases to a point where a large portion of the annular film is removed from the pipe wall and carried in the gas phase as entrained droplets. Mist flow is also known as spray or dispersed flow. Mist is always accompanied by an annular film, even though it may be very thin.

Occurrence This type of flow can be expected when the vapor content is more than 30% of total weight flow rate. E.g. some overhead-condenser and reboiler-return lines.

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## Flow Regime in Vertical Pipe

Bubble Flow Bubble flow in vertical pipe is similar to bubble flow in horizontal pipe. The liquid is the continuous phase, with dispersed gas bubbles rising through it. Due to buoyancy effects, the bubble velocity is slightly higher than the liquid velocity during upward flow, but the bubble velocity is slightly lower than the liquid velocity during downward flow.

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## Flow Regime in Vertical Pipe

Slug Flow As the liquid volumetric rate decreases or the gas rate increases, the small bubbles coalesce into large bubbles which occupy a major portion of the pipe cross-sectional area. Alternating large gas bubbles and liquid slugs move through the pipe with some small bubbles of gas entrained in the liquid slugs. Slug flow can occur in either upward or downward vertical flow, but it is usually not initiated during downward flow. However, if slug flow is well established in an upward leg, it will persist in a subsequent downward or horizontal leg, provided that other conditions remain the same.

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## Flow Regime in Vertical Pipe

Froth/Churn Flow As the liquid volumetric rate is further reduced or the gas rate is increased, the gas/liquid interface becomes more turbulent. More small gas bubbles mix with the liquid, forming a turbulent, disordered pattern of ever-shortening liquid slugs separated by successively larger gas bubbles, known as froth flow.

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## Flow Regime in Vertical Pipe

Annular Flow Increasing the gas volumetric flow rate causes the transition to annular flow, where the liquid separation between large gas bubbles disappears and the bubbles coalesce into a continuous, central core of gas. In upward flow, the annular liquid film flow is slowed by gravity, increasing the difference in velocities between the gas and liquid phases. In downward flow, gravity increases the liquid velocity, thereby reducing the phase velocity difference. With vertical annular flow, the liquid film thickness is more uniform around the circumference of the pipe than with horizontal annular flow.

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BAKER PARAMETER
Normally, the two-phase-flow pattern can be established from the chart given below by calculating Baker parameters Bx and By.

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BAKER PARAMETER
Vl Vv Wl B x ! 531 2 W v V l 3
Thus BX depends on 1. Weight-flow ratio 2. Physical properties of liquid and vapor phases Note: It is independent of pipe size

Q 13 l W l

## Wl Flow rate of liquid (lb/h) Wv Flow rate of vapor (lb/h) Vl Ql Wl

Liquid density (lb/ft3)

Wv B y ! 2.16 A V V l v
Thus BY depends on

## V v Vapor density (lb/ft3)

Viscosity of liquid (cP) Surface tension of liquid (dyn/cm)

1. Vapor-phase flow rate 2. Vapor and liquid densities 3. Pipe size Practical significance of pipe size is by changing pipe diameter the type of flow might be changed which changes the friction losses.
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## Process Calculation - Example - Line Sizing / Configuration

Determine a reasonable pipe size, downstream of the control valve for the piping configuration shown. The available pressure differential, P, is10 psi ,including that for the control valve. The two-phase flow data in the line after the control valve are: Liquid Vapor Flow (W) lb/h Density () lb/ft Viscosity () cP 59,033 31.2 0.11 9,336 1.85 0.0105

Surface tension () dyn/cm 5.07 From Baker Parameter equations, we can calculate bakers parameters for several sizes of Sch-40 pipe, including and larger than 4. Using the Baker coordinates, we establish the flow region from the fig. Pipe size Baker coordinates Flow Region (in) BX BY 8 245 7,650 Bubble/slug 6 245 13,250 Bubble 4 245 30,000 Bubble As 8 line creates slug flow, it should be avoided. Using appropriate formulae for calculating the pressure drop for the type of flow, it is found that the pressure drop is higher at 4 line. Hence 6 is the optimum line size
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## EFFECTS OF SLUG FLOW

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Slug flow causes serious pressure fluctuations which can upset the process conditions and cause inconsistent instrument sensing. Moreover, it causes vibration especially at vessel inlets, pipe bends, valves and other flow restrictions. This can lead to equipment deterioration and operating problems.

## Special Cases of Slug flow:

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Vacuum Transfer Lines. Condenser Outlet Lines. Reboiler Return Lines. Fired Heater outlets. Boiler Blowdown.

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## By reducing line sizes to a minimum permitted by available pressure differentials.

By designing parallel pipe runs that will increase flow capacity without increasing the overall friction loss.

By using a low point effluent drain or bypass or other solutions. By arranging the pipe configurations to protect against slug flow. E.g. in a pocketed line where liquid can collect, slug flow might develop. Hence pocket is to be avoided.

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## Slug Flow Calculation

Should a slug for condition be considered, the forces on an elbow may be determined as follows: The static force on a bend due to steady fluid flow is

F
!

2 V AV g
1 . 414

## For a 90 Elbow ( = 90),

N sin 2
2

where = density of the liquid (lb/ft3) V = Velocity of vapor (ft/sec) A = Area of cross-section (ft) g = gravitational constant (32.2 ft/sec) The Stresses and forces caused by the impact of slug will be 1.5 - 2.0 times the static force. Considering DLF = 1.5 for impact loading (as per Fluor Design Guide),

V AV g

2 . 12 V AV ! g

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Restraint Application

Restraints designed for slug flow will allow movement due to normal operation conditions; however the design will be primarily for excessive movement due to impact the slug. All changes of pipe run direction will require restraint e.g. the loop shall be restrained as shown. In case of any negative effect of the restraint in thermal case, sufficient gap may be introduced.

Standard guides and anchors are normally inadequate for restraining slug flow. Special design is required. Free standing structural T supports are also inadequate for restraining slug flow. These supports are usually quite tall and tend to offer little resistance to horizontal loads. Consequently, even though they are not overstresses from the effects of the load, they do not sufficiently dampen the impact and the resultant displacement of the pipe at the restraint point can be a serious problem.
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## Slug Flow Analysis - Static Method (using CAESAR II)

Input Procedure In the absence of process parameters, it is preferable to use the density of vapor for stress calculation as well as to find out the minimum frequency of the system. However, the hydrostatic load may be used for the design of supports. This is applicable wherein hanger selection is not required. Systems which have hanger design requirement, it is advisable to refer all relevant process data and find out the equivalent density of the fluid which is more realistic approach. Load Cases to be built up
Two Phase Flow

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Slug Flow Analysis - Response Spectra Method (Dynamic analysis using CAESAR II- Based on previous experience -Not FD procedure)
Normally, Slug force is treated as an impulsive force. This method is based on the assumption that the slug traverses the elbow and then suddenly drops to zero again. It is also assumed that the slug is formed across the pipe full cross section. The duration of slug is calculated based on the length of slug and stream velocity. This results in short duration impulsive loads on the pipe. The slug size is calculated based on the length of the pipe before the elbow & liquid volume fraction i.e. Length of liquid slug = Length of pipe * Liquid volume fraction Duration of slug is calculated as, Length of liquid slug Time duration = Velocity of flow The slug periodicity is calculated as, Length of liquid slug + Length of gas slug Periodicity of slug = Velocity of flow
SLUGFLOW_CALC.xls

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Slug Flow Analysis - Response Spectra Method (Dynamic analysis using CAESAR II)
Force on the elbow due to fluid flow is calculated as, FAXIAL = V V2 A (1- cos U ) FORTHOGONAL = V V2 A sin U Where FAXIAL FORTHOGONAL V A V U Force on elbow in axial direction ( N ) Force on elbow in orthogonal direction ( N ) Density of liquid ( Kg/ m3 ) Internal cross-sectional area of pipe in ( m2) Stream velocity ( m/Sec ) Angle of bend ( Degree )

It is assumed that the elbow is subjected to force due to liquid slug and drops to a smaller value based on the density of gas, after some duration as the liquid traverses the elbow. This load is treated as a rectangular pulse load with the duration and periodicity calculated as above. The no. of cycles are given as per maximum limit of CAESAR-II package. Natural frequencies of the piping system is calculated for the few modes up to frequency cut-off of 33 Hz.
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Slug Flow Analysis - Dynamic Method (using CAESAR II) Response Spectra - Input

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Slug Flow Analysis - Dynamic Method (using CAESAR II) Response Spectra - Input

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Slug Flow Analysis - Dynamic Method (using CAESAR II) Response Spectra - Input

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Slug Flow Analysis - Dynamic Method (using CAESAR II) Response Spectra - Input

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Slug Flow Analysis - Dynamic Method (using CAESAR II) Response Spectra - Input

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