Population balance model for nucleation, growth, aggregation, and breakage of hydrate particles in turbulent flow



This article describes a computational model for the size evolution of hydrate particles in a pipeline-pump system with turbulent flow. The model is based on the population balance principle, and the simulation results were validated with data from an experimental study of a flow loop containing hydrate particles reported in the literature. It is found that the particle size is significantly influenced by aggregation and breakage, related to shear in the flow, and that these effects are comparable to those of growth and nucleation, related to diffusional processes. Two different approaches for hydrate growth and nucleation, one of continuous nucleation during the process and one of only an initial nucleation-pulse, were used. This was done to compare the aggregation and breakage parameters which come out when fitting the models output to experiment. These two approaches are found to give rise to similar aggregation/breakage parameters, lending credence to the pbm-based modeling. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010