Different flow pattern maps and theoretical models were employed to determine the flow velocity needed to provide the dispersed-bubble flow in a hydrotransport pipeline. Comparison and analysis of the results has been carried out. The maximum and minimum bubble sizes were determined by semi-experimental methods. A log-normal function was employed to describe the bubble size distribution. A model for the bubble size change in the turbulent pipe flow was applied to study the evolution of the overall bubble size distribution. This model takes into account the competing factors influencing the bubble size: 1) dissolution (turbulent diffusion) of air in the liquid, causing bubble shrinkage; 2) pressure drop along the pipeline, causing bubble growth. Numerical analysis shows that the bubble dissolution rate strongly depends on the initial air hold-up and initial bubble size. An increase of air hold-up leads to a fast decrease of the dissolution rate. At sufficient high air hold-ups, the dissolution effect becomes negligible and air bubble sizes are dominantly controlled by the pressure drop. Smaller bubbles have higher dissolution rates than larger ones. Compared with a pure liquid flow under the same flow conditions, the effect of air hold-up is stronger in the slurry flow because of the smaller volume occupied by the liquid.

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