The introduction of wet gas compression provides the opportunity for future cost-effective production of oil and gas. A wet gas compressor consists of a robust unit able to increase the pressure of untreated natural gas. This permits longer transport of hydrocarbons without topside facilities if installed at the well head. Obvious benefits include prolonging the life of existing wells and the possibility of exploiting smaller hydrocarbon sources otherwise considered non-commercial.
Successful development of robust wet gas compressors requires further understanding of the phenomena which occur when liquid is present in the gas stream. Understanding the way the presence of liquid affects the velocity triangle and slip factor is essential for the design of wet gas compressors and for comprehending their response to varying levels of liquid content in the inlet stream.
An experimental study has been performed with various levels of liquid fractions and inlet swirl angles. Impeller-exit velocity components and shift in slip factors are presented within the experimental test boundary.
A shift in velocity components and slip factor is experienced with increasing liquid content and inlet guide vane (IGV) setting angle. Consequently, existing slip factor correlations not utilizing inlet flow characteristics are not valid for wet gas flow or with impeller inlet swirl.