Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Lubricated pipelining: stability of core—annular flow. Part 5. Experiments and comparison with theory

Runyuan  Bai a1, Kangping  Chen a1 and D. D.  Joseph a1
a1 Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota. 107 Akerman Hall, 110 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Article author query
bai r   [Google Scholar] 
chen k   [Google Scholar] 
joseph dd   [Google Scholar] 


Results are given for experiments on water-lubricated pipelining of 6.01 P cylinder oil in a vertical apparatus in up- and downflow in regimes of modest flow rates, less than 3 ft/s. Measured values of the flow rates, holdup ratios, pressure gradients and flow types are presented and compared with theoretical predictions based on ideal laminar flow and on the predictions of the linear theory of stability. New flow types, not achieved in horizontal flows, are observed: bamboo waves in upflow and corkscrew waves in downflow. Nearly perfect core–annular flows are observed in downflows and these are nearly optimally efficient with values close to the ideal. The holdup ratio in upflow and fast downflow is a constant independent of the value and the ratio of values of the flow rates of oil and water. A vanishing holdup ratio can be achieved by fluidizing a long lubricated column of oil in the downflow of water. The results of experiments are compared with computations from ideal theory for perfect core–annular flow and from the linear theory of stability. Satisfactory agreements are achieved for the celerity and diagnosis of flow type. The wave is shown to be nearly stationary, convected with the oil core in this oil and all oils of relatively high viscosity. These results are robust with respect to moderate changes in the values of viscosity and surface tension. The computed wavelengths are somewhat smaller than the average length of the bamboo waves which are observed. This is explained by stretching effects of buoyancy and lubrication forces induced by the wave. Other points of agreement and disagreement are reviewed.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received April 20 1990)
(Revised March 5 1991)