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Keywords:

  • pressure drop;
  • microchannels;
  • Taylor flow;
  • Bretherton's problem;
  • monoliths;
  • capillary;
  • multiphase flow

Abstract

In a capillary, the two-phase pressure drop in Taylor slug flow was measured. A carefully designed inlet section for the capillary allowed the independent variation of gas bubble and liquid slug length. Gas and liquid superficial velocities were varied from 0.04 m/s to 0.3 m/s. If the slug length was smaller than 10 times the capillary diameter, the length-averaged friction factor for the liquid slug increased drastically from the single phase value (f = 16/Re) due to differences in curvature at the front and the back of the bubble. The use of different liquids allowed the independent variation of Re and Ca. The flow of elongated bubbles in capillaries was simulated using the CFD code FIDAP. It was found both numerically and experimentally that for Re ≫ 1, the extra pressure terms may be taken account using (Ca/Re) as a parameter. The numerical results agreed with the experimental data, provided that Marangoni effects of impurities are taken into account. The results allow the determination of slug length from pressure drop measurements in closed equipment where the slug length cannot otherwise be measured easily, such as monoliths and microreactors. © 2005 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2005