• liquid–liquid flow;
  • oil-water flow;
  • dispersed flow;
  • drag reduction;
  • phenomenological modeling;
  • wire-mesh sensor


An experimental study on drag-reduction phenomenon in dispersed oil-water flow has been performed in a 26-mm-i.d. Twelve meter long horizontal glass pipe. The flow was characterized using a novel wire-mesh sensor based on capacitance measurements and high-speed video recording. New two-phase pressure gradient, volume fraction, and phase distribution data have been used in the analysis. Drag reduction and slip ratio were detected at oil volume fractions between 10 and 45% and high mixture Reynolds numbers, and with water as the dominant phase. Phase-fraction distribution diagrams and cross-sectional imaging of the flow suggested the presence of a higher amount of water near to the pipe wall. Based on that, a phenomenology for explaining drag reduction in dispersed flow in a flow situation where slip ratio is significant is proposed. A simple phenomenological model is developed and the agreement between model predictions and data, including data from the literature, is encouraging. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012