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The Effect of Mixture Velocity and Droplet Diameter on Oil-water Separator using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Authors: M. Abdulkadir, V. Hernandez-Perez


The characteristics of fluid flow and phase separation in an oil-water separator were numerically analysed as part of the work presented herein. Simulations were performed for different velocities and droplet diameters, and the way this parameters can influence the separator geometry was studied. The simulations were carried out using the software package Fluent 6.2, which is designed for numerical simulation of fluid flow and mass transfer. The model consisted of a cylindrical horizontal separator. A tetrahedral mesh was employed in the computational domain. The condition of two-phase flow was simulated with the two-fluid model, taking into consideration turbulence effects using the k-ε model. The results showed that there is a strong dependency of phase separation on mixture velocity and droplet diameter. An increase in mixture velocity will bring about a slow down in phase separation and as a consequence will require a weir of greater height. An increase in droplet diameter will produce a better phase separation. The simulations are in agreement with results reported in literature and show that CFD can be a useful tool in studying a horizontal oilwater separator.

Keywords: CFD, mixture velocity, droplet diameter

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