Experimental study on the transition between stratified and non-stratified horizontal oil-water flow

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The effect of oil and water velocities, pipe diameter and oil viscosity on the transition from stratified to non-stratified patterns was studied experimentally in horizontal oil-water flow. The investigations were carried out in a horizontal acrylic test section with 25.4 and 19. mm ID with water and two oil viscosities (6.4 and 12. cP) as test fluids. A high-speed video camera was used to study the flow structures and the transition. At certain oil velocity, stratified flow was found to transform into bubbly and dual continuous flows as superficial water velocity increased for both pipe diameters using the 12. cP oil viscosity. The transition to bubbly flow was found to disappear when the 6.4. cP oil viscosity was used in the 25.4. mm pipe. This was due to the low Eotvos number. Transition to dual continuous flow occurred at lower water velocity for oil velocity up 0.21. m/s when 6.4. cP oil was used in the 25.4. mm ID pipe, while for Uso> 0.21 m/s, the transition appeared at lower water velocity with the 12. cP oil.The effect of pipe diameter was also found to influence the transition between stratified and non-stratified flows. At certain superficial oil velocity, the water velocity required to form bubbly flow increased as the pipe diameter increased while the water velocity required for drop formation decreased as the pipe diameter increased. The maximum wave amplitude was found to grow exponentially with respect to the mixture velocity. The experimental maximum amplitudes at the transition to non-stratified flow agreed reasonably well with the critical amplitude model. Finally, it was found that none of the available models were able to predict the present experimental data at the transition from stratified to non-stratified flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012



  • Bubbly flow
  • Non-stratified
  • Oil-water flow
  • Stratified
  • Wave amplitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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