Solid particle erosion is a mechanical process in which material is removed from a surface due to impacts of solid particles transported within a fluid. It is a common problem faced by the petroleum industry, as solid particles are also produced along with oil and gas. The erosion not only causes economic losses resulting from repairs and decreased production but also causes safety and environmental concerns. Therefore, the metal losses occurring in different multiphase flow regimes need to be studied and understood in order to develop protective guidelines for oil and gas production equipment. In the current study, a novel noninvasive ultrasonic (UT) device has been developed and implemented to measure the metal loss at 16 different locations inside an elbow. Initially, experiments were performed with a single-phase carrier fluid (gas-sand) moving in the pipeline, and the erosion magnitudes are compared with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results and found to be in good agreement. Next, experiments were extended to the multiphase slug flow regime. Influence of particle diameter and liquid viscosity were also studied. Two different particle sizes (150 and 300 μm sand) were used for performing tests. The shapes of the sand are also different with the 300 μm sand being sharper than the 150 μm sand. Three different liquid viscosities were used for the present study (1 cP, 10 cP, and 40 cP). While performing the UT experiments, simultaneous metal loss measurements were also made using an intrusive electrical resistance (ER) probe in a section of straight pipe. The probe in the straight pipe is an angle-head probe which protrudes into the flow with the face placed in the center of the pipe. The UT erosion measurements in a bend are also compared with experimental data obtained placing an intrusive flat head ER probe flush in a bend, and the results were found to be in good agreement. Finally, the noninvasive nano UT permanent placement temperature compensated ultrasonic wall thickness device developed for this work has the capability of measuring metal loss at many locations and also identifying the maximum erosive location on the pipe bend.
Ultrasonic Measurement of Multiphase Flow Erosion Patterns in a Standard Elbow
Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 19, 2012; final manuscript received December 6, 2012; published online May 24, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Christopher J. Wajnikonis.
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Kesana, N. R., Grubb, S. A., McLaury, B. S., and Shirazi, S. A. (May 24, 2013). "Ultrasonic Measurement of Multiphase Flow Erosion Patterns in a Standard Elbow." ASME. J. Energy Resour. Technol. September 2013; 135(3): 032905. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4023331
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