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Prediction of two-phase flow distribution in parallel pipes using stability analysis



Two-phase gas liquid flow in pipes is a complex process. One of the problems that is hardly understood is how the two phases are distributed among two or more parallel lines with a common inlet manifold. Steady-state analysis yields multiple steady-state solutions. Linear and nonlinear (simulation) stability analyses are performed in order to determine the actual distribution of the flow that will take place in a real system. The analysis shows that when there are four parallel pipes, for example, the two-phase flow mixture from the common inlet manifold can choose to flow in one, two, three, or in all four pipes, depending on the flow rates of the liquid, and the gas and on the pipes inclination. For low-flow rates of gas and liquid, the flow tends to take place only in one line, while stagnant liquid columns are present in the other three pipes. As the flow rate increases the flow will take place in 2, 3 and finally in 4 pipes. Experimental data confirm the analysis although matching is only approximate. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2006