One of the big challenges in transporting heavy oils through the pipelines is the high pressure drop due to the effect of viscosity and shear-thinning fluid behaviour of oil. Core annular technique has been applied in industry for transporting heavy oil via pipelines to considerably reduce pressure drop. Several studies have been conducted related to oil-water core annular flow (CAF) within pipelines. However, limited works are found in cases of CAF in widely used T and Y-shaped junction pipes which have important roles for dividing or combining the flow. In this study, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) approach was applied to simulate the high viscous oil-water CAF through T and Y-shaped junction pipe configurations. The 2k factorial statistical experimental design was applied to investigate the effect of pipe diameter and junction angle on the flow performance through T and Y-shaped junction pipes. Eight cases were run with different junction pipe configuration combinations. By applying the factorial designs method, all possible combinations of factors were able to be investigated with lowest numbers of simulation run. The selected response variables of the flow system were the average values of oil hold up and pressure gradient as well as the standard deviation of pressure from inlet to outlets of pipes. It was observed that the stability of CAF was not achieved at the downstream region. The flow transformed into stratified and slug flow. The most attractive design was measured by the small average of pressure gradient and standard deviation of pressure but with a high value of oil holdup. The T-shaped pipe with smaller inlet diameter combined with larger outlet diameter showed the most considerable effect for a better flow performance.
- Oil-water flow