High-Pressure Visual Experimental Studies of Oil-in-Water Dispersion Droplet Size
Droplet size, Mixing, Deepwater blowout, Multiphase flow
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The formation of oil-in-water dispersions is a critical step during the blowout of coastal and deepwater oil and gas production systems, and is a determining factor in the vertical and lateral migration of oil through the associated adjacent water column. In this study a high-pressure sapphire visual autoclave apparatus was used to measure the size of crude oil droplets that were saturated with gas and dispersed in an aqueous phase as a function of mixing speed. Oil-in-water droplet size distributions were measured at pressures of 11 MPa, for autoclave stirring rates of 200–1000 RPM (1076 ≤ Restirred vessel ≤ 5378). Arithmetic mean droplet diameters decreased monotonically from 344 to 125 μm over this range, with maximum droplet sizes decreasing from 708 to 441 μm. A model tuned to the measured oil-in-water data was used to predict a mean droplet size on the order of 80 μm for Deepwater Horizon conditions; when incorporated into far field blowout simulations, this droplet size data enables quantitative assessment of the impact of dispersant injection at the blowout site.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Chemical Engineering Science, v. 127, p. 392-400
Scholar Commons Citation
Aman, Zachary M.; Paris, Claire B.; May, Eric F.; Johns, Michael L.; and Lindo-Atichati, David, "High-Pressure Visual Experimental Studies of Oil-in-Water Dispersion Droplet Size" (2015). C-IMAGE Publications. 96.