Transient modeling of non-isothermal, dispersed two-phase flow in natural gas pipelines

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Abstract

Unsteady-state or transient two-phase flow, caused by any change in rates, pressures or temperature at any location in a two-phase flow line, may last from a few seconds to several hours. In general, these changes are an order of magnitude longer than the transient encountered during single-phase flow. The primary reason for this phenomenon is that the velocity of wave propagation in a two-phase mixture is significantly slower. Interfacial transfer of mass, momentum and energy further complicate the problem. It is primarily due to the numerical difficulties anticipated in accurately modeling transient two-phase flow that the state of the art in this important area is restricted to a handful of studies with direct applicability to petroleum and gas engineering. A limited amount of information on the subject of two-phase transport phenomena is available in the petroleum engineering literature. Most of the publications for two-phase flow of gas assume that temperature is constant over the entire length of the pipeline. This study is the first effort to simulate the non-isothermal, one-dimensional, transient homogenous two-phase flow gas pipeline system using two-fluid conservation equations. The modified Peng-Robinson equation of state is used to calculate the vapor-liquid equilibrium in multi-component natural gas to find the vapor and liquid compressibility factors. Mass transfer between the gas and the liquid phases is treated rigorously through flash calculation, making the algorithm capable of handling retrograde condensation. The liquid droplets are assumed to be spheres of uniform size, evenly dispersed throughout the gas phase. The method of solution is the fully implicit finite difference method. This method is stable for gas pipeline simulations when using a large time step and therefore minimizes the computation time. The algorithm used to solve the non-linear finite difference thermo-fluid equations for two-phase flow through a pipe is based on the Newton-Raphson method. The results show that the liquid condensate holdup is a strong function of temperature, pressure, mass flow rate, and mixture composition. Also, the fully implicit method has advantages, such as the guaranteed stability for large time step, which is very useful for simulating long-term transients in natural gas pipeline systems. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Abbaspour, M., Chapman, K. S., & Glasgow, L. A. (2010). Transient modeling of non-isothermal, dispersed two-phase flow in natural gas pipelines. Applied Mathematical Modelling, 34(2), 495–507. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apm.2009.06.023

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