The behavior of electric submersible pumps (ESP) handling two-phase flow is a subject of primary concern, especially in the petroleum industry, where significant amounts of free gas may be found in oil wells production. In the past, several attempts were made to predict the performance of such kind of pumps, nevertheless, limited success has been achieved due to the complex flow dynamics inside the impeller. Geometry, gas void fraction (GVF) and suction pressure seem to be the main parameters affecting ESP performance. Furthermore, the higher the GVF of the mixture is, the higher the degradation of head that is experienced by the pump. So far, this complex phenomenon has not been well understood. In the present work, a two fluid model is used in three-dimensional (3D) CFD simulations to obtain the pressure, liquid and gas velocity fields as well as the GVF distribution inside an ESP impeller of known geometry; using flow rates, bubble diameter and GVF at the suction as independent variables and an incompressible fluid hypothesis. The gas pocket in the impeller blade reported by other researchers is obtained and comparison with experimental results shows good agreement. The obtained variables from the simulations are the cornerstone that allows the prediction of the performance curve of the pump for different GVF and such, lets the head degradation of the pump be estimated.
CFD Analysis of Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP) Handling Two-Phase Mixtures
Contributed by: The Petroleum Division and presented at the ETCE 2002, Houston, Texas, Feb. 4–6 2002 of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. Manuscript received by the Petroleum Division July 2002; revised manuscript received February 2004. Associate Editor: S. Shirazi
Caridad, J., and Kenyery, F. (June 22, 2004). "CFD Analysis of Electric Submersible Pumps (ESP) Handling Two-Phase Mixtures ." ASME. J. Energy Resour. Technol. June 2004; 126(2): 99–104. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1725156
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