Development of small size and weight separation equipment are crucial for the petroleum off-shore exploration. Since centrifugal fields are several times stronger than the gravity field, cyclonic separation has became very important as a unit process for compact gas-liquid, liquid-liquid and solid-liquid separation. The major difference between the various cyclones is their geometry. Cyclone optimization for different uses is, every year, less based on experiments and more based on mathematical models. In the present work, the flow field inside high oil content hydrocyclones is numerically obtained with FLUENT. The performance of two turbulence models, Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) and Large Eddy Simulation (LES), to predict the flow inside a high oil content hydrocyclone, is investigated by comparing the results with experimental data available in the literature. All models overpredicted the tangential component, especially at the reverse cone region. However, the prediction of the tangential turbulent fluctuations with LES was significant better than the RSM prediction. The influences of the inlet flow rate and hydrocyclone length in the flow were also evaluated. RSM model was able to foresee correctly, in agreement with experimental data, the correct tendency of pressure drop reduction with decreasing inlet flow rate and increasing length.

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