Vertical air-water flows, solids-water flows and three component air-solids-water flows were investigated in a Three Component Flow Facility. Visual observations of the flow patterns show that three component flows undergo transition and can exhibit strong unsteady vortical motions. Measurements of the fluctuations in cross-sectionally averaged volume fraction measurements were made. The statistical properties of the fluctuations are presented in terms of their amplitude and coherent time scale in the form of the Signal To Noise Ratio (STNR) and the Time Constant (ξ), respectively. Remarkably, the solids-water flows and the dispersed bubbly air-water flows exhibit almost identical values of STNR for the same volume fraction. Equally remarkable in the linear relationship between the Time Constant and the mean bubble or particle velocity; this relationship is found to have the same constant of proportionality for both species in the well behaved disperse regime. In the two-component churn-turbulent and the three-component agitated vortical regimes, the variables ξ and STNR significantly deviate from their dispersed regime values. The onset of large coherent structures characteristic of these regimes is reflected by a rise in the amplitude of the fluctuations and a marked increase in their coherent time scale. The results of this study demonstrate the large information content in the fluctuations of the measured quantity, both as a flow regime indicator and as a measure of flow quantities in two- and three-component flows.

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