Predicting and controlling the flow regime transition of multiphase fluids in microchannels is essential for various energy applications, such as flow boiling, de-emulsification and oil recovery processes. This in turn requires a better understanding of multiphase flow behaviors in microchannels with various channel surface wettability, fluid interfacial tension and flow rates. In this paper, experiments and Lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) simulations are carried out to study complicated multiphase flow at micro or meso scales. With the Shan-Chen multiphase LBM model, the flow pattern transitions of adiabatic two phase flow in a microchannel were investigated. The effects of surface wettability and liquid/gas velocity ratio on the flow regime transition were further studied. A series of two-phase flow experiments were conducted on a PDMS microfluidic device under different gas/oil velocity ratios. Under various surface wettability conditions, our simulation results agree well with the flow visualization experiments equipped with a high speed camera (HSC). Our finding shows that the cross-section meniscus curve width, corresponding to the shadow in the HSC photo, increases with decreasing contact angle, which was confirmed by the simulated liquid/gas distribution. Besides the influence of surface wettability, the role of gas/liquid velocity ratio on two-phase flow regime transition was discussed in detail. The proposed approach paves the way to probe complicated physics of multiphase flows in microporous media.

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