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CFD Simulation of Phase Distribution in Adiabatic Upward Bubbly Flows Using Interfacial Area Transport Equation

Xia Wang, Xiaodong Sun

Nuclear Technology / Volume 167 / Number 1 / July 2009 / Pages 71-82

Technical Paper / NURETH-12 / Thermal Hydraulics /

In the study of gas-liquid two-phase flows, one challenge is to describe the dynamic changes in flow structure, which can be considerably affected by bubble coalescence and/or disintegration in addition to bubble nucleation and condensation processes. The interfacial structure, to a first-order approximation, may be characterized by the void fraction and a geometric parameter named "interfacial area concentration," the evolution of which can be modeled by an interfacial area transport equation (IATE). A one-group IATE has been developed for bubbly flows in the literature, accounting for three dominant mechanisms: coalescence of bubbles due to random bubble collisions driven by turbulence, coalescence of bubbles due to wake entrainment, and disintegration of bubbles caused by turbulent-eddy impact. The current study is aimed at examining the capability of a computational fluid dynamics code, namely, FLUENT, with the one-group IATE implemented, in predicting two-phase-flow phase distributions. Simulations using the Eulerian multiphase model in FLUENT 6.2.16 have been performed for adiabatic upward bubbly flows in a pipe of 50.8-mm inner diameter with a range of void fractions from 4.9 to 23.1%. The predicted phase distributions yield satisfactory agreement with available experimental data, demonstrating that FLUENT with the IATE can provide a valuable simulation tool for two-phase bubbly flows.

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