Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Oil and Gas Applications

Study of a Two-Phase Flow Pump and Separator System

[+] Author and Article Information
François Gruselle

Department of Aero-Thermo-Mechanics, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50 cpi 165/41, 1050 Brussels, Belgium; Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l’Industrie et dans l’Agriculture (FRIA), Brussels, Belgiumfrancois.gruselle@ulb.ac.be

Johan Steimes

Department of Aero-Thermo-Mechanics, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50 cpi 165/41, 1050 Brussels, Belgiumjohan.steimes@ulb.ac.be

Patrick Hendrick

Department of Aero-Thermo-Mechanics, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50 cpi 165/41, 1050 Brussels, Belgiumpatrick.hendrick@ulb.ac.be

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 133(6), 062401 (Feb 15, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002470 History: Received June 29, 2010; Revised July 02, 2010; Published February 15, 2011; Online February 15, 2011

The Aero-Thermo-Mechanics (ATM) Department of ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is developing an original system to pump and separate a two-phase flow. Many applications need to extract a certain phase of a multiphase flow: oil extraction, flow in nuclear pumps, flow in aircraft lubrication systems, pulp and paper processing, etc. The main objective of this study is to obtain a lightweight, compact, and efficient system that can both extract the gas of a two-phase flow and increase the pressure of the liquid phase. Prototypes with different designs were first tested at ULB on a specific test bench using water and air. The current prototype is a kind of axial-centrifugal pump. The axial part is used to separate the two phases of the flow and to collect, in the centrifugal part, the liquid phase only. The test results of the water-air prototypes have allowed to identify the key design and working parameters for efficient separation and pumping. A theoretical model has also been developed to describe the behavior of these prototypes. After successful tests with water-air mixtures, the technology has been implemented for a hot oil-air mixture. The tests with oil-air mixtures are performed on the aeroengine lubrication system test bench that the ATM Department developed and continues developing for other projects. At the same time, the flow field in the pump and separator system is being studied with commercial computational fluid dynamics software packages. Several two-phase flow models are considered for this particular application.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Classical aeroengine lubrication system (6)

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Figure 2

Cyclone separator (9)

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Figure 3

ULB-ATM lubrication test bench schematics

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Figure 4

Working principle of axial-centrifugal prototypes

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Figure 5

Working principle of axial-centrifugal prototypes: liquid film formation

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Figure 6

Pressure fluctuations in a non-integrated prototype

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Figure 7

Example of air leaks through the water outlet

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Figure 8

Comparison between STAR-CD simulations and experimental tests

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Figure 9

Mesh for VOF simulations (two perpendicular cross sections)

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Figure 10

High counterpressure simulations

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Figure 11

Low counterpressure simulations




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