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Upstream swirl-induction for reduction of erosion damage from slurries in pipeline bends

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  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Economics
  • Mathematics


Industries which transport slurries and other particle-laden liquids in pipes expend the equivalent of millions of pounds every year to repair erosion damage caused by solid particle impingement. It is against this background that the perceived relationship between pipeline erosion and imposed swirling flow fields in pipe bends is important. Definitions of flow fields and particle dispersions which minimise erosive wear are sought to facilitate the development of new designs and geometries for slurry handling equipment. Such an approach is pertinent to industries handling valuable or hazardous material in the face of increasing safety, efficiency and economic requirements. Robust erosive wear models must be developed to explore the advantages of swirl flow and subsequent particle dispersion. Collaboration between the universities of Nottingham and Southampton is aimed at the reduction of wear at critical locations in slurry handling pipelines by applying swirl-inducing pipes upstream of pipe bends. This paper details the improved particle distributions, particle impingement conditions and lower flowrates resulting from such swirl flow. These factors are discussed in terms of current erosion models and the predicted reduction in wear rates. Parallel visualisation studies using simulant particle-laden liquids augment computational modelling of the flow patterns.

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