Simulation of turbulent horizontal oil-water core-annular flow with a low-Reynolds number k–ɛ model

Haoyu Li*, M. J.B.M. Pourquie, G. Ooms, R. A.W.M. Henkes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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1D, 2D and 3D numerical simulations were carried out with the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) for horizontal oil-water core-annular flow in which the oil core stays laminar while the water layer is turbulent. The turbulence is described with the Launder-Sharma low-Reynolds number k−ϵ model. The simulation results are compared with experiments carried out in our lab in a 21 mm diameter pipe using oil and water with a viscosity ratio of 1150 and a density ratio of 0.91. The 1D results represent perfect turbulent CAF (i.e. no gravity, no interfacial waves), the 2D results represent axi-symmetric CAF (i.e. no gravity, with interfacial waves), and the 3D results represent eccentric CAF (i.e. with gravity, with interfacial waves). The simulation results typically show a turbulent water annulus in which the structure of the (high-Reynolds number) inertial sublayer can be recognized. The pressure drop reduction factor (which is the ratio between the pressure drop for CAF and the pressure drop for single phase viscous oil flow) for the 2D and 3D results is about the same, but its value is about 35% higher than in the experiment. The hold-up ratio in the 3D model is close to the experimental value, but the 2D prediction is slightly lower. The eccentricity predicted by the 3D simulations is much higher than in the experiment. Most likely, the observed differences between the simulations and the experiments are due to limitations of using a low-Reynolds number k−ϵ model. In particular the water layer at the top in the 3D results shows a relaminarization, which might be absent in the experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103744
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Core-annular flow
  • Interfacial waves
  • Levitation mechanism

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