Dynamic multiphase flow behavior inside a mixed flow electrical submersible pump (ESP) has been studied experimentally and theoretically for the first time. The overall objectives of this study are to determine the flow patterns and bubble behavior inside the ESP and to predict the operational conditions that cause surging. An experimental facility has been designed and constructed to enable flow pattern visualization inside the second stage of a real ESP. Special high-speed instrumentation was selected to acquire visual flow dynamics and bubble size measurements inside the impeller channel. Experimental data were acquired utilizing two types of tests (surging test and bubble diameter measurement test) to completely evaluate the pump behavior at different operational conditions. A similarity analysis performed for single-phase flow inside the pump concluded that viscosity effects are negligible compared to the centrifugal field effects for rotational speeds higher than 600 rpm. Therefore, the two-phase flow tests were performed for a rotational speeds of 600, 900, 1200, and 1500 rpm. Results showed formation of a large gas pocket at the pump intake during surging conditions.

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