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SPE 56582

Liquid Carry-over in Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Compact Separators

W. A. Chirinos, L. E. Gomez, S. Wang, R. Mohan and O. Shoham, SPE, The University of Tulsa, G. Kouba, SPE,
Chevron Petroleum Technology Company

Copyright 1999, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 1999 SPE Annual Technical Conference and A separator is a field vessel used to separate gas, oil and water
Exhibition held in Houston, Texas, 36 October 1999.
from a multiphase mixture produced from oil and gas wells.
This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE Program Committee following review of
information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
The petroleum industry has been using vessel-type separators
presented, have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to for this purpose which are large, heavy and expensive to
correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any
position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Papers presented at purchase and operate. In recent years, the industry has shown
SPE meetings are subject to publication review by Editorial Committees of the Society of interest in the development and application of alternatives to
Petroleum Engineers. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper
for commercial purposes without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is the vessel-type separator. One such alternative is the Gas-
prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300
words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone (GLCC ) Separator. The
GLCC is a simple, compact, low-cost and low weight
acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was presented. Write Librarian, SPE, P.O.
Box 833836, Richardson, TX 75083-3836, U.S.A., fax 01-972-952-9435.

separator, that requires minor maintenance, and is easy to

Abstract install and operate. Therefore, it is gaining popularity as an
The liquid carry-over phenomenon in Gas-Liquid Cylindrical economically attractive alternative to the vessel-type
Cyclone (GLCC 1) compact separators has been studied conventional separator for many field applications.

experimentally and theoretically. A schematic of the GLCC separator is shown in Figure 1.
Experimental data have been acquired including the It is basically a vertical piece of pipe, with a downward
operational envelope for liquid carry-over and percent liquid inclined tangential inlet and two outlets, one at the bottom for
carry-over beyond the operational envelope. The data show the liquid phase, and the other at the top for the gas phase.
that at low gas and high liquid flow rates, under churn flow
Current applications of the GLCC are for separating gas and
conditions in the upper part of the GLCC , large amount of liquid. The two-phase mixture flows tangentially from the
liquid can be carried over relatively easily. On the other hand,
at high gas and low liquid flow rates, under annular flow inlet into the GLCC forming a vortex. Due to the centrifugal,
conditions, one should exceed the operational envelope gravitational and buoyancy forces, the liquid moves to the
significantly in order to have large amount of liquid carry- wall, downward and exits from the lower part, while the gas
over. moves to the center, upward and exits from the top.

A mechanistic model has been developed for the prediction The GLCC has a wide range of potential applications,
of the percent liquid carry-over beyond the operational varying from only partial separation to a complete phase
envelope, for churn flow conditions. An existing model for the separation. Potential applications include control of gas-liquid
prediction of the operational envelope for liquid carry-over ratio (GLR) for multiphase flow meters, pumps and de-
has been extended to high-pressure conditions, including sanders, portable well test metering, steam quality metering,
improved models for zero-net liquid flow holdup, droplet flare gas scrubbing, primary surface and subsurface
region and blowout and critical velocities. separation, and pre-separation upstream of slug catchers or
Comparisons between the new mechanistic model primary separators.
predictions for percent liquid carry-over with the experimental
The GLCC operation is limited by two physical
data, under churn flow conditions, show a good agreement. phenomena; one is the liquid carry-over (LCO) in the gas
Also, in the lack of experimental data, the predictions of the stream and the other is the gas carry-under (GCU) in the liquid
operational envelope for liquid carry-over at high-pressure stream. LCO can occur in the gas leg in the form of droplets or
conditions show reasonable trends. stratified flow. GCU is the entrainment of gas bubbles into the
exiting liquid stream. Prediction of these two phenomena will

allow proper design and operation of the GLCC for the
GLCC - Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone copyright, The industry.
University of Tulsa, 1994

The goal of this project is to investigate experimentally and been created as a result of the gas inlet and outlet
theoretically the flow behavior in the upper part of the configurations.

GLCC and the mechanisms associated with the LCO
phenomena. The specific objectives of this study are given Mechanistic Modeling. Few mechanistic models have been
below: developed recently in order to describe and predict the flow

1. Acquire liquid carry-over data. These include the behavior in the GLCC . A mechanistic model for predicting
operational envelope and percent liquid carry-over separation efficiency based on the analysis of droplet
beyond the operational envelope. trajectories in liquid-liquid, oil/water hydrocyclones was
2. Develop a mechanistic model to predict percent liquid presented by Wolbert et al. (1995). These trajectories were
carry-over. calculated through a differential equation, combining models
3. Extend the mechanistic model to high-pressure for the three bulk velocity distributions, namely, axial, radial
conditions. and tangential. From the critical trajectory characteristics, a
droplet diameter was deduced corresponding to 100%
Literature Review separation efficiency.
Detailed literature review on compact separation technology Arpandi et al. (1996), based on experimental and theoretical
research was given by Arpandi et al. (1996), Mohan et al. studies performed at Tulsa University Separation Technology
(1998) and Gomez et al. (1998). A summary of the state-of- Projects (TUSTP), have developed a mechanistic model,
capable of predicting the general hydrodynamic flow behavior
the-art of GLCC technology has been recently presented by

Shoham and Kouba (1998). The following is an update on in a GLCC . This includes simple velocity distributions, gas-
liquid interface shape, equilibrium liquid level, total pressure
GLCC studies.
drop, and operational envelope. More research is necessary to

Experimental Studies. A resume of the experimental studies predict details of complex flow behavior in the GLCC and
phenomena such as liquid carry-over and gas carry-under.
on the detailed hydrodynamic flow behavior in the GLCC is

presented in this section. An analysis of bubble trajectory for GLCC separators was
Reydon and Gauvin (1981) studied the behavior of confined presented by Marti et al. (1996). The model predicts the gas-
vortex flow in conical cyclones. Their studies show that the liquid interface (vortex) near the inlet as a function of the
magnitude of the inlet velocity does not change the shape of radial distribution of the tangential velocity. The bottom of the
the tangential velocity, axial velocity and the static pressure vortex defines the starting location for the bubble trajectory
profiles. However, an increase in the inlet velocity increases analysis, which enables the determination of separation
the magnitude of all the above quantities. efficiency based on the gas bubble size.
Local laser Doppler anemometer (LDA) velocity Movafaghian (1997) presented new experimental data on
measurements in cylindrical cyclone separators were reported the effects of geometry, fluid physical properties and pressure
by Millington and Thew (1987). Their studies revealed that
on the hydrodynamic flow behavior in GLCC separators.
the distance between the inlet and the outlet controlled the gas
The data were utilized to check and refine the GLCC
carry-under rate. The authors suggested the use of twin,
mechanistic model developed previously by Arpandi et al.
diametrically opposite inlets for greater axi-symmetry and gas
(1996). Comparison between the modified model predictions
core filament stability, leading to a much improved gas carry-
and the experimental data showed a very good agreement.
under performance. They made the important observation that
Wang et al. (1998) developed a steady-state and a dynamic
the vortex occurring in the cylindrical cyclone separator is a
forced vortex with a tangential velocity structure. model as framework for the GLCC passive and active
Farchi (1990) conducted tangential velocity measurements control, respectively. The steady-state model was used to
in a cylindrical cyclone with static pitot tubes. His analyze the system sensitivity and the dynamic model was
measurements confirmed that a forced vortex occurs in the used to analyze the system stability by applying linear control
cyclone. However, as the diameter of the cyclone increases, theory. In this investigation, a preliminary control strategy was

the velocity distribution tends to match the free vortex profile. proposed for GLCC active control based on separated gas
Through a study on gas-liquid flow characteristics in a spiral and liquid outlet configuration.
horizontal cyclone with vortex generator, Kurokawa and A set of correlations for the prediction of the velocity field
Ohtaik (1995) confirmed the existence of a complex velocity
in the GLCC (tangential and axial) was presented by
profile by accurate single-phase liquid flow measurements. Mantilla et al. (1999). An improved bubble trajectory model
The study distinguishes a forced vortex, generating a jet was presented, utilizing the developed correlation that showed
region with extremely high swirl velocity around the pipe good agreement with the experimental data.
center, from a second swirl region formed by a free vortex Recently, Gomez et al. (1999) developed a state-of-the-art
near the wall and also an intermediate region of backflow with
high swirl velocity. This complex velocity profile may have computer simulator for GLCC design, in an Excel-Visual
Basic platform, capable of integrating the different modules of
the mechanistic model. Model enhancements include a flow

pattern dependent nozzle analysis for the GLCC inlet, an
analytical model for the gas-liquid vortex interface shape, a Experimental Facility. The experimental two-phase flow-
unified particle trajectory model for bubbles and droplets, loop consists of a metering section to measure the single-phase

including a tangential velocity decay formulation and a gas and liquid flow rates, and a GLCC test section, where all
the experimental data are acquired. Following is a description
simplified model for the prediction of the GLCC aspect ratio.
of these two sections, as well as the instrumentation and data
CFD Simulations. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) acquisition system.
simulations have been used to support the mechanistic Metering Section. The metering section consists of two
modeling effort, by investigating the detailed hydrodynamics parallel, single-phase feeder-lines for measuring the incoming
single-phase gas and liquid flow rates. Two-phase mixture is
of the flow in the GLCC . Most of the previous CFD studies formed at the mixing tee and delivered to the test section.
with bubble trajectory analysis were limited to single-phase Air is used as the gas phase, which is supplied to a gas tank
flow. Bandyopadhyay et al. (1994) conducted a numerical
by an air compressor with a capacity of 250 cfm at 120 psig.
study to investigate the mechanism of separating gas bubbles
The gas flow rate into the loop is controlled by a regulating
from a bulk liquid in a cyclone separator. The authors first
valve and metered utilizing either a Micromotion mass flow
simulated single-phase liquid flow. The simulated liquid flow
field was then used to compute the trajectories of a single gas meter or a Daniel orifice flow meter.
bubble to determine the residence time of the bubbles in the The liquid phase (water) is supplied from a 400-gallon
storage tank at atmospheric pressure, and pumped to the liquid
separator and gas separation efficiency.
feeder line with a centrifugal pump. Similar to the gas phase,
Erdal et al. (1997) presented CFD simulations utilizing a
the liquid flow rate is controlled by a regulating valve and
commercial code called CFX (CFX 4.1, 1995). The
metered using orifice or mass flow meters. The single-phase
simulations presented details of the flow behavior in the
gas and liquid streams are combined at the mixing tee. Check
GLCC for single-phase and two-phase flow. The results valves, located downstream of each feeder, are provided to
verified that axi-symmetric simulation (2-D with three prevent backflow. The two-phase mixture downstream of the
velocity components) gave similar results as compared to the test section is separated utilizing a conventional separator. The
three-dimensional (3-D) simulations. An expression was gas is vented to the atmosphere and the liquid is returned to
developed for the equivalent inlet tangential velocity for the the storage tank to complete the cycle.
axi-symmetric model. A sensitivity analysis on the effects of
the ratio of the inlet tangential velocity to the average axial GLCC Test Section. The test section consists of a GLCC
separator, as shown in Figure 2. The test section is divided
velocity on the hydrodynamic flow behavior in the GLCC into 6 parts:
was also carried out. 1. The dual inlet section;
More recently, Motta et al. (1997) presented a simplified
model, based on a CFD approach, for rotational two-phase 2. The GLCC body;
3. The gas leg, which includes the liquid carry-over trap;
flow in a GLCC separator. The model assumes an axi- 4. The liquid leg;
symmetric flow with three velocity components, and is 5. The passive control system; and
applicable to steady-state and isothermal conditions. The study 6. The recombination section with the gas carry-under
also presents a comparison of proposed model and predictions trap.
of a commercial CFD code (CFX). As an example for
Dual Inlet. The dual inlet of the GLCC consists of a lower
potential application of the proposed model for GLCC
design, the study combines, for the first time, the gas carry- inlet pipe section, 3 diameter, connected to the GLCC with
under and liquid carry-over envelopes to present the region of an inlet having a sector-slot/plate configuration, with a nozzle
area of 25% of the inlet pipe cross sectional area. The upper
proper operation of the GLCC . inlet is a reduced pipe configuration, 1.5 diameter, with a full

Above overview of the state-of-the-art of the GLCC bore slot into the GLCC . The area of cross-section of the
technology reveals that more studies need to be conducted in upper inlet section is also 25% of that of the 3 inlet pipe. The

order to be able to design and operate the GLCC properly. GLCC can be configured with a single inlet or a dual inlet by
The present study includes a mechanistic model and new using the appropriate inlet valves. Only the lower inlet was

experimental data for liquid carry-over in the GLCC beyond used for experimental investigations in this study.
the operational envelope, and extension of the model for high-
GLCC body, Gas and Liquid Legs and Liquid Trap. The
pressure conditions.
GLCC body is 3 in diameter and 8 tall. It has several ports
for conducting local measurements, such as die injections and
Experimental Program pitot tube velocity measurements. The gas leg is 2 in

The details of the experimental facility, the GLCC diameter, and includes a gas vortex shedding meter (VSM)
configuration and the experimental data are presented in this and the liquid trap. A schematic of the liquid trap is shown in
part. Figure 3. The liquid trap is a 6 pipe section expansion with a

2 pipe connection to the gas leg. In the lower part, the trap the locus of the liquid and gas flow rates at which LCO is
allows accumulation and measurement of liquid carry-over for initiated provides the operational envelope for liquid carry-
conditions beyond the operational envelope. A mesh is over, as illustrated by the solid line in Figure 4.
installed at the exit of the liquid trap in order to trap fine liquid The area below the envelope is the region of normal
droplets in the gas stream. On the other hand, the liquid leg operating condition. In this region there is no liquid carry-over
consists of a combination of 2 and 1.5 diameter pipe from the separator. The region above the operational envelope
sections. It has a Micromotion mass flow meter (MM) to represents the flow conditions for continuous LCO. Point (a)
measure the liquid flow rate. in the Figure represents normal operating conditions in the
Passive Control System. The passive control system, shown
GLCC . Point (b) marks the initiation of the LCO
schematically in Figure 2, consists of a float chamber and a phenomenon. This point represents the minimum gas flow rate

float assembly. The passive control of the GLCC liquid level required to initiate LCO, for a given liquid flow rate. For
was achieved by means of a dual edge float with throttles, for higher gas flow rates at point (c), the liquid is carried over into
controlling the gas and the liquid outlet flow. This system was the gas stream continuously.
not utilized in the present study.
Percent Liquid Carry-over. Proper GLCC operation is
Recombination section. Prior to recombination of the gas limited by liquid carry-over in the gas stream. The
and liquid streams, the liquid phase passes through a barrel. mechanisms responsible for liquid carry-over are churn flow
This 6 pipe section is provided in order to quantify the
and annular flow occurring in the upper part of the GLCC .
amount of gas carry-under into the liquid stream. In the
At relatively high liquid and low gas flow rates, the liquid
present study no gas carry-under measurements were
conducted. churns up and down in the upper part of the GLCC . Under
Instrumentation and Data Acquisition System. The this condition, liquid is carried over into the gas leg in the
form of stratified flow. This phenomenon is presented in
GLCC is equipped with a level indicator (sight gauge)
Figure 5.
installed parallel to the body of the separator, and a differential
On the other hand, at relatively high gas and low liquid flow
pressure transducer, which gives a measure of the liquid level.
The separated gas and liquid phases are metered by means of a rates, the flow pattern in the upper part of the GLCC is
gas vortex shedding meter (located in the gas leg) and a annular flow. Under this condition liquid is carried over into
Micromotion mass flow meter (in the liquid leg). The the gas stream and through the gas leg in the form of droplets,
as shown in Figure 5.
average pressure of the GLCC is measured by an absolute A combined plot of these two flow phenomena for liquid
pressure transducer located in the gas leg. The temperature carry-over is presented in Figure 6, including the annular and
and density of the liquid phase are also measured by the churn flow regions, which are separated by the transition
Micromotion meter. region.
All output signals from the sensors, transducers and
metering devices are terminated at a central panel, which in Experimental Results. This section presents the experimental
turn is connected to the computer through an A/D converter. A
data acquisition system setup is built in the computer using results on the GLCC performance, including the operational
envelope and the percent liquid carry-over.
LABTECH-pro software to acquire data from the
Operational Envelope for Liquid Carry-over. Figure 7
instrumentation. This setup is capable of fixing the sampling
presents the experimental results for liquid carry-over. The
frequency at specific rates, as desired. The sampling frequency
was set at 2 Hz for the flow meters and all the devices, except GLCC was operating with the lower inlet and mesh installed
the differential pressure transducer, which was set at 50 Hz. in the liquid trap. The operating pressure was atmospheric, and
Once the steady-state condition is established, an arithmetic air and water were used as working fluids.
average of data collected for 2 minutes duration is computed
In general, at relatively low Vsg, the GLCC can tolerate
as the final value of the quantity measured. high liquid flow rates. However, as Vsg increases the
operational envelope decreases. The operational envelope is
Physical Phenomena. In order to get a better understanding characterized by three regions, namely churn, transition and
of the experimental results, which will be presented next, a annular flow. In the churn region, characterized by low gas
discussion of the fundamental two-phase flow phenomena and high liquid flow rate (Vsg < 10 ft/s), the liquid level in the
related to the operational envelope and liquid carry-over

GLCC is above the inlet and the liquid is churning up and
beyond the operational envelope in the GLCC is provided in
down in the upper part of the GLCC . In the annular region,
this section. characterized by high gas and low liquid flow rate (Vsg > 20
Operational Envelope for Liquid Carry-over. The ft/s), the liquid level is below the inlet and there is a liquid
operational envelope for liquid carry-over represents the
initiation of liquid entrainment into the discharged gas stream, film flow around the GLCC wall below the inlet up to the
gas/liquid interface. In this region, the liquid flow rate for the
at the top of the GLCC . It occurs under extreme operating onset of liquid carry-over has a linear trend with the gas
conditions of high gas and/or high liquid flow rates. Plotting

stream. Between the churn and annular regions is the neither churn flow nor fully developed annular flow occurs in
transition region (10 ft/s < Vsg < 20 ft/s), in which the liquid
the upper part of the GLCC . As a result, the LCO is very
level is around the inlet. In this region, there is no churn flow small, less than 0.5%, for conditions far beyond the

in the upper part of the GLCC and at the same time the gas operational envelope.
flow rate is not high enough to produce annular flow.
Percent Liquid Carry-over. The experimental measurement Mechanistic Model
of the percent liquid carry-over lines was carried out with the This chapter is divided into three parts. The first part presents
following procedure: the TUSTP mechanistic model for predicting the operational
1. Set the gas for the least possible flow. envelope. The second part presents the new model developed
2. Set the liquid flow very small and increase until in this study for percent LCO prediction. The last part
initiation of liquid carry-over is observed. describes an extension of the operational envelope and liquid
3. Increase the gas flow rate to get liquid carry-over flow carry-over, to high-pressure conditions. Note that all new
conditions. developments (percent LCO and high-pressure conditions) are
4. Set the data acquisition program upon determination of carried out only for the churn flow region.
steady-state condition. The model to predict the operational envelope for zero
5. Measure the time and the height of liquid in the lower percent LCO was presented previously by Arpandi et al.
pipe section of the liquid trap. This would be one point (1996). The objective of this study is to extend this model to
corresponding to a percentage of liquid carry-over line. conditions beyond the operational envelope. The main
6. Increase the gas flow rate in small increments and difference between these two physical models is that for LCO
repeat steps 2, 3 and 5 to obtain additional data points. conditions, two-phase flow occurs in the gas leg instead of
The equations to compute the percent liquid carry over single-phase flow. As a result, the pressure drop calculations
(PLCO) are: for this part were modified for two-phase flow conditions. The
new model for percent liquid carry-over is described below.
q Liq co
PLCO = * 100 (1) The GLCC nomenclature for the mechanistic model is given
q in Figure 9.
Liq in
Zero-Net Liquid Flow Holdup. Based on high-pressure
data presented by Duncan and Scott (1998) a pressure
Vol Liq co
q Liq co = (2) correction factor, FP , was developed, to extend the zero-net
Time liquid flow holdup, presented by Arpandi et al. (1996), to high
where The zero-net liquid flow holdup, Hlo, for liquid carry-over
qLiq-in = Inlet volumetric flow rate of liquid (ft3/s) conditions, taking into account the percent liquid carry-over
qLiq-co = Carry-over volumetric flow rate of liquid (ft3/s) and a pressure correction factor is given by:
VLiq-co = Trapped liquid volume (ft3)
Time = Time interval (s). Vsg Ld
H 'lo = 1 1 F 1 + (3)
The experimental results for liquid carry-over beyond the
operational envelope are shown in Figure 8. The percent liquid go g1 100
carry-over is the percentage of the inlet liquid volumetric flow
rate, which is carried over with the gas stream. In the churn where, Ld, the droplet region length is given by:
region, at high Vsl and low Vsg, large quantities of liquid can be
carried over, relatively easily. Here, the lines look very close 1 (4)
to each other. In this region, slight increase in the operating Ld =
conditions beyond the operational envelope may result in as
2g Cd
( gV sg )2 3
high as 3% LCO. Data for this region were acquired up to 5% Vsg
2 32 lg c
LCO. Higher percent LCO could be achieved by further
increasing the flow conditions. In the annular region, at high and Vgo, is the modified Taylor bubble rise velocity, namely:
Vsg and low Vsl, it is more difficult to have large amount of
liquid carry-over beyond the operational envelope, and the l g
lines look more separated, in comparison to the churn flow V go = CoVsg + 0.35 g d s

region. As can be seen, the flow conditions must be increased l
significantly beyond the operational envelope in order to get
even a 0.6% liquid carry-over. where Co = 1.15 .
An interesting phenomenon is observed in the transition
region, namely, the percent liquid carry-over is very small for The modification for the zero-net liquid flow holdup was
the entire region. The main reason for this is that at the based on experimental data presented by Duncan and Scott
transition region the liquid level is around the inlet, and (1998), who measured the zero-net liquid flow holdup under

high-pressure conditions in a 25-ft tall, 4.897-in diameter droplet region up to the blow out velocity, which is consistent
cylindrical cyclone. Experiments were performed using with the physical phenomena.
methane and water at pressures ranging from 100 to 500 psia. The critical velocity is the velocity required to initiate liquid
Based on the difference between the zero-net liquid flow carry-over in the form of fine droplets (Kouba et al., 1995),
holdup computed by the model and the experimental data, a namely,
pressure correction factor, Fp, was developed using the least
squares method in order to predict the zero-net liquid flow 0.25
l g
holdup at high-pressure conditions. The root mean square Vcrit = 0.6812 We (11)
error between the experimental data and the predictions of the 2
zero-net liquid flow holdup using the pressure correction
factor was 5.8%.
where We is the Weber number (8.0).
The developed expressions for the pressure correction factor
A comparison between the critical and blowout velocities
reveals that at low pressures Vcrit > Vbo, but at high pressures
Vcrit < Vbo. Hence, for the mechanistic model at high pressures,
FP = 3.7176 P 0.2633 (for P > 146.5 psig) (6) the critical velocity is set to be equal to the blowout velocity.
Figure 11 shows the trend of Vbo, Vcrit and Vdiscont for
FP = 1 (for P 146.5 psig). (7) different pressure conditions.
Pressure Drop in the Gas Leg. The corresponding equation
The prediction of the zero-net liquid flow holdup for high to compute the pressure drop under liquid carry-over
pressures, given by Equation (3), is valid for Hlo > 0.2. conditions is:
Therefore for 0 < Hlo <0.2 the zero-net liquid flow holdup is
based on the interpolation between 0.2 and 0, using the f go gVgo2 (Lg1 Ld ) f g gVsg2 Ld
corresponding superficial gas velocities, as follows: P 'Gas = (12)
2d go 2 Ds

0.2(Vsg Vbo ) mo g (Lg1 Ld )+ M gLg 3 'g

H lo = (0 < Hlo< 0.2) (8)
(Vsg [
0.2 ] Vbo )
The gravitational and frictional pressure drops in the upper

where Vbo, the blowout velocity is the velocity for which the part of the GLCC include the effect of the presence of the
length of the droplet region, Ld, is equal to the total height of liquid phase at zero-net liquid flow conditions. Determination
of the frictional pressure drop in Equation (12) is carried out
the GLCC above the inlet Lg1 (see Figure 9), and Hlo is 0. by taking into consideration the reduced area of flow of the
Vsg[0.2], is the corresponding velocity when Hlo is 0.2. gas phase due to the presence of liquid. The reduced diameter
Figure 10 presents the predictions of the current model for for gas flow is given by:
the pressure range of 800 2500 psig, for which no
experimental data are available at the present time.
d go = d s 1 H lo (13)
Equation (4) exhibits a discontinuity when the denominator
is equal to zero. Therefore, taking the denominator of
Equation (4) and equating it to zero gives: The increased gas velocity Vgo can be solved from Equation
(5). The Reynolds number is therefore:
2 g Cd
(g Vsg )2 3 = 0 . (9)
gVgo d go
2 32 l g c Rego = (14)
The superficial gas velocity solved from Equation (9),
namely the discontinuity velocity, is given by: The interface roughness is assumed to be equal to an
equivalent annular film thickness, , resulting in a friction
128 g l g c factor of the form:
Vdiscont = 4 (10)
3Cd g2

f go = f go Re go , (15)
d go
When the droplet length is equal to Lg1, Equation (4) can be
solved numerically in order to get the blowout velocity Vbo. It
was found out that Vdiscont > Vbo always, even for high where the equivalent film thickness is given by
pressures. Thus, since the droplet region is used only in the
churn flow region up to the blow out velocity, the d s d go
discontinuity may be avoided by restricting the use of the = (16)

V sl
mo = l H lo + g (1 H lo ) (17) l = (25)
V M 100

In Equation (12), g is the frictional pressure loss in the gas Calculation Procedure. The model procedure to predict the
section, given by: percent liquid carry-over lines ( %) for churn flow, as shown
in Figure 6, is the following:
M n f Mi LiV Mi2 n 1. Set the superficial gas velocity, namely, VsgOE, on the
'g =
i= 2 + K iV Mi2

operational envelope.
2 di i = 1
2. Assume a percent liquid carry-over, .
The first term in the parentheses of Equation (18) represents 3. Select a superficial liquid velocity in the liquid leg, Vsl.
the frictional losses in the different pipe segments of the loop 4. Determine the inlet superficial liquid velocity, Vsl.
and the second term represents the losses in the different pipe (Equation 22).
fittings. These terms are based on the mixture velocity and 5. Calculate the mixture velocity and density in the gas
density, utilizing the no slip homogeneous model. leg, under two-phase flow conditions, namely, VM and
Equilibrium Liquid level. Under liquid carry-over M, respectively. (Equations 23, 24, and 25).
conditions, for churn flow, liquid is presented in the upper part 6. Determine the maximum liquid holdup that can be

of the GLCC in the form of zero-net liquid flow. For these tolerated in the upper part of the GLCC above the
conditions the equation for the equilibrium liquid level is, as inlet, Hlo, for LCO conditions (Equation 3).
follows: 7. Calculate the pressure drop in the gas leg PGas, under
two-phase flow conditions (Equation 12), using the
L'eq = Lin + H 'lo (Lg1 Ld ) (for Ld < Lg1). (19) homogeneous model, for Lg2 and Lg3.
8. Determine the equilibrium liquid level (Leq) in the

Pressure Drop in the Liquid Leg. The equation to compute GLCC for LCO conditions. (Equation 19).
the pressure drop in the liquid leg for liquid carry-over 9. Calculate the pressure drop in the liquid leg, PLiq,
conditions is: under single-phase liquid flow conditions, with Vsl
(Equation 20).
P 'Liq = l g (L'eq Ll 3 )+ g g (Lin L'eq ) 'l (20) 10. The pressure losses in the gas and liquid legs must be
the same. Check PGas = PLiq for convergence.
11. Repeat steps 3 to 10 with a new value of Vsl until
where convergence is reached. This results in a pair of
superficial gas velocity, VsgOE, and superficial liquid
l m fi LiV 'sli2 m velocity, Vsl, on the percent of liquid carry-over line
'l =
+ KiV ' sli2

2 i =1 di i =1 for %.
12. Repeat steps 1 to 11 for different values of superficial
and Vsl is superficial liquid velocity in the liquid leg. gas velocities on the operational envelope to get the
The superficial liquid velocity at the inlet for the percent entire percent liquid carry-over line for %.
liquid carry-over is: 13. Repeat the whole procedure (step 1 to step 12) for
different values of percent liquid carry-over, , to get
V 'sl (22) other curves of percent LCO.
Vsl =

1 Results and Discussion
Zero-Net Liquid Flow. The comparison of the model given
by Equations (3), (6), (7) and (8), with the Arpandi et al.
and the mixture velocity and density in the gas leg are given,
(1996) data for atmospheric conditions and the experimental
respectively, by:
data of Duncan and Scott (1998) for high pressures, is shown
in Figures 12, 13 and 14.

V M = V sg OE + V sl (23)
100 Operational Envelope. The comparison between the
experimental result of the operational envelope for zero
M = l l + g (1 l ) (24) percent LCO and the model predictions is given in Figure 15.
The experimental results are presented as squared points. The
mechanistic model predictions are shown as a solid line. The
The no slip holdup is based on the percent liquid carry-over,
mechanistic model for the operational envelope for zero
and is given by:

percent liquid carry-over is a revised version of the model of liquid carry-over. In the transition region (10
presented by Arpandi et al. (1996). For the churn region, the ft/s<Vsg<20 ft/s) less than 0.5% of liquid carry-over was
agreement between the model prediction and the data is very obtained even for flow rates significantly beyond the
good. The predictions for the annular region needs to be operational envelope.
addressed in future work. 2. A physical model to predict the percent liquid carry-
over under churn flow conditions was developed. The
Percent Liquid Carry-Over. Comparison between the new model provides an extension of the Arpandi et al.
experimental data and the model predictions is shown in (1996) operational envelope model to conditions
Figure 16 for churn flow conditions. The model prediction of beyond the zero percent liquid carry-over. The main
the LCO lines has a good agreement with data. Similar to the difference between these two physical models is that for
experimental data, the model also predicts that under churn LCO conditions, two-phase flow occurs in the gas leg
flow conditions, large amounts of liquid can be carried over instead of single-phase flow. As a result, the pressure
relatively easily. drop calculations for this part were modified
Extension to High Pressure Conditions. The prediction of 3. The mechanistic model has been extended for high-
the operational envelope for high-pressure conditions is given pressure conditions to predict the operational envelope
in Figure 17. First the experimental results for the operational for zero percent liquid carry-over and beyond. The
modifications include zero-net liquid flow holdup,
envelope of the GLCC without the mesh are presented as
circled points. The mechanistic model predictions for this droplet region and blowout and critical velocities.
condition are shown as a solid line. The model prediction lines 4. The zero-net modification was based on experimental
for the operational envelope at high pressures are presented for data taken by Duncan and Scott (1998). They measured
pressures ranging from 100 to 2500 psig. The plot shows that the liquid flow holdup under high-pressure conditions.
Based on the difference between the zero-net liquid
as the pressure increases (above 500 psig), the GLCC flow holdup data and the mechanistic model, a pressure
operational envelope shifts upward marginally. Since at high correction factor, Fp, is developed to predict the zero-

pressures the density of the gas is higher, the GLCC can net liquid flow holdup at high-pressure conditions.
tolerate higher liquid flow rate for a given gas flow rate. The 5. The equation for droplet region has a discontinuity
predictions of the operational envelope lines at high-pressure problem when the denominator is equal to zero. Since
conditions are terminated at the blowout velocity. At this Vdiscont > Vbo, the discontinuity can be avoided by
velocity the zero-net liquid flow holdup is equal to zero and restricting the use of the droplet region up to the blow
the onset of annular flow occurs. The hydrodynamic behavior out velocity.
for annular flow conditions under high-pressure conditions is 6. A comparison between the critical and blowout
unknown due to the absence of supporting experimental data. velocities reveals that at low pressures Vcrit > Vbo, but at
Therefore the operational envelope lines are shown only for high pressures Vcrit < Vbo. Hence, for the mechanistic
churn flow conditions. model at high pressures, the critical velocity will be
The prediction of the percent liquid carry-over at high equated to the blowout velocity.
pressures is presented in Figure 18. Lines corresponding to 5% 7. Comparison between the new mechanistic model
and 10% LCO are shown for 100 and 2500 psig flow predictions of liquid carry-over for churn flow
conditions. The predictions of the percent liquid carry-over at conditions and the experimental data shows a good
high pressures show a reasonable trend, matching intuitive agreement. Also the predictions of the operational
expectations. envelope at high pressures match intuitive expectations.

Conclusions Nomenclature
The hydrodynamics of liquid carry-over beyond the
operational envelope in Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Cd = drag coefficient
compact separators have been studied theoretically and Co = flow coefficient
experimentally. The conclusions based on this study are given d = diameter (ft)
as follows: f = friction factor
1. A set of experimental data was acquired up to 5% liquid Fp = pressure correction factor
carry-over. The data show that at low gas and high H = liquid flow holdup
liquid flow rates (churn flow in the upper part of the g = acceleration due to gravity (ft/s)

GLCC , Vsg<10 ft/s), large amounts of liquid can be gc = units conversion constant (32.2 lbm ft/lbf s2)
carried over relatively easily. Otherwise at high gas and K = fitting resistance coefficient
low liquid flow rates (annular flow conditions, Vsg>20 L = length (ft)
ft/s) one should exceed the operational envelope n = number of pipe segments in liquid leg
significantly in order to have comparably large amount n = number of pipe segments in gas leg
P = pressure (psi)

q = volumetric flow rate (ft3/s) 4. Duncan, R. W. and Scott, S.L.: Vertical Zero-Net
Re = Reynolds number Liquid Flow: Effects of High-pressure on Holdup, 1st
V = velocity (ft/s) BHR Group North American Conference Multiphase
We = Weber number Technology, Banff, Canada, June 10-11, 1998, pp. 43-
Greek Letter 5. Erdal, F., Shirazi, S., Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.: CFD
= film thickness (ft) Simulation of Single-Phase and Two-Phase in Gas-
= no-slip holdup Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators, SPE 36645,
= incremental deviation presented at the the SPE 71st Annual Meeting, Denver,
= frictional losses (psi) October 6-9, (1996), SPEJ, vol. 2, ( December, 1997),
= viscosity (cp) 436-446.
= density (lbm/ft3) 6. Farchi, D. A study of Mixers and Separators for Two-
phase flow in M.H.D. Energy Conversion Systems,
= surface tension (lbf/ft)
M.S. Thesis (in Hebrew), Ben-Gurion University, Israel,
= percent liquid carry-over (%)
7. Gomez, L., Mohan, R., Shoham, O., Marrelli, J., and
Kouba, G.: State-of-the-art Simulator and Field
bo = blow-out
Applications of Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone
crit = critical
Separators, SPE 56581, presented at the SPE 74th
co = carry-over
Annual Meeting, Houston, October 3-6, 1999.
d = droplet, data
8. Gomez, L., Mohan, R., Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.:
discont = discontinuity
Enhanced Mechanistic Model and Field Application
eq = equilibrium
Design of Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separator,
g = gas rd
SPE 49174, presented at the SPE 73 Annual Meeting,
in = inclined inlet
New Orleans, September 27 -30, 1998.
l = liquid
9. Kouba, G.E., Shoham, O. and Shirazi, S.: Design and
Liq = Liquid
Performance of Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone
mo = two-phase mixture under zero-net liquid
Separators, Proceedings of the BHR Group 7th
International Meeting on Multiphase Flow, Cannes,
M = mixture
France, June 7-9, 1995, pp. 307-327.
o = zero-net liquid flow
10. Kurokawa, J. and Ohtaik, T.: Gas-Liquid Flow
OE = operational envelope
Characteristics and Gas-Separation Efficiency in a
s = GLCC separator, superficial Cyclone Separator, ASME FED-Vol. 225, Gas Liquid
Flows, 1995, pp. 51-57.
Superscripts 11. Mantilla, I., Shirazi, S. and Shoham, O.: Flow Field
= conditions of liquid carry-over
Prediction and Bubble Trajectory Model in GLCC
Separators, presented at the ASME Energy Resources
Abbreviations Technology Conference and Exhibition, ETCE, Houston,
GCU = gas carry-under
TX, Feb. 1-2, 1999, ASME J. Energy Resources
GLCC = gas-liquid cylindrical cyclone Technology, v. 121, (March 1999), 9-14.
LCO = liquid carry-over 12. Marti, S., Erdal, F., Shoham, O., Shirazi, S. and Kouba,
PLCO = percent liquid carry-over G.: Analysis of Gas Carry-Under in Gas-Liquid
Cylindrical Cyclones, presented at the Hydrocyclones
References 1996 International Meeting, St. John College,
1. Arpandi I.A., Joshi A.R., Shoham, O., Shirazi, S. and Cambridge, England, April 2-4, 1996.
Kouba, G.E.: Hydrodynamics of Two-Phase Flow in 13. Millington, B.C. and Thew, M.T.: LDA Study of
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators, SPE 30683, Component Velocities in Air-Water Models of Steam-
presented at SPE 70th Annual Meeting, Dallas, October Water Cyclone Separators, Proceeding of the 3rd
22-26, 1995, SPEJ, December 1996, pp. 427-436. International Conference on Multiphase Flow, The
2. Bandyopadhyay, P.R., Pacifico, G.C. and Gad-el-Hak, Hague, The Netherlands, May 18, 1987, pp. 115-125.
M.: Sensitivity of a Gas-Core Vortex in a Cyclone- 14. Mohan, R., Wang, S., Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.:
Type Gas-Liquid Separator, Advanced Technology and Design and Performance of Passive Control System for
Prototyping Division, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators, ASME J.
Division, Newport, Rhode Island, 1994. Energy Resources Technology, v. 120(1), (March 1998),
3. CFX 4.1, CFX 4.1 Flow Solve User Guide, AEA 49-55.
Technology, Oxfordshire, UK, 1995.

15. Motta, B., R., F., Erdal, F. M., Shirazi, S., A., Shoham,
O. and Rhyne, L., D.: Simulation of Single-phase and 23

Two-Phase Flow in Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone

Separators, Proceedings of the ASME Summer INLET OUTLET
Meerting, Fluid Eng. Division, Vancouver, Canada, June 6
22-26, (1997).
16. Movafaghian, S.: The Effects of Geometry, Fluid Mesh
Properties and Pressure on the Flow Hydrodynamics in
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators, M.S.
Measuring 2
Thesis, The University of Tulsa, 1997. Column
17. Reydon, R.F. and Gauvin, W.H.: Theoretical and
Experimental Studies of Confined Vortex Flow, The
Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, vol.59,
February 1981, pp. 14-23.
18. Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.: The State-of-the-Art of
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone Separators
Technology, Journal of Petroleum Technology, Vol. 50, Figure 3- Schematic of Liquid Trap
No. 7, July 1998, pp 58-65.
19. Wang, S., Mohan, R., Shoham, O. and Kouba, G.:
Dynamic Simulation and Control System Design of
Gas-Liquid Cylindrical Cyclone
Separators, SPE 49175,
presented at the SPE 73 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Ql or
September 27 -30, 1998. Vsl LCO REGION

20. Wolbert, D., Ma, B.F., Aurelle, Y. and Seureau, J.:

Efficiency Estimation of Liquid-Liquid Hydrocyclones a b c

Using Trajectory Analysis, AIChE Journal, vol.41,

No.6, June 1995, pp. 1395-1402. NO LCO REGION

SI Metric Conversion Factors

Qg or Vsg

ft 3.048* E 01 = m
ft 2 9.290 304* E 02 = m 2
ft 3 2.831 685 E 02 = m 3
Figure 4- Liquid Carry-over Operational Envelope
in. 2.54* E + 00 = cm
psi 6.894* 757 E + 00 = kPa 102.5
8.5 23 16.5
5 8 8
2 6
26 24 2
20 2
3 8
27 3
3 6 20
Nozzle 3 30 #2
48 1
4 24

24 1.5 6
0.75 24
3 2 MM
Flat plate tangent 26 9
5 2

61 9 30.5 16 23 24 3

Figure 1- Schematic of GLCC Separator Figure 2- Schematic of GLCC Test Section



Churn Flow Annulus Flow


Figure 5- LCO Under Churn and Annular Flow Conditions



Vsl (ft/s)
0.5 0.3 3.7%
Vsl OE
Churn 0.1 4.8%

Operational Envelope
ENVELOPE Transition


0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36
Vsg OE Vbo Vcrit
Vsg Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 6- Percent LCO Phenomena Figure 8- Percent Liquid Carry-over Results

1.6 10

1.4 9 Gas
Gas flow Meter

Operational Envelope 8
Liquid Level (ft)

Liquid Level Lg3

7 Lg1
Vsl (ft/s)


4 Lin

0.4 Leq Ll3

Liquid flow Meter
0.0 1
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 Ll2
Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 7- Operational Envelope and Liquid Level Figure 9- GLCC Nomenclature for Mechanistic


Data Model
800 psig 0.40
1000 psig
1500 psig
2000 psig 0.30
0.25 L
2500 psig


0.15 0.10

0.10 0.00
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Vsg (ft/s)
0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 Figure 13- Comparison of Zero-net Liquid Flow
Vsg (ft/s)
Holdup at 300 psig
Figure 10- Prediction of Zero-Net Liquid Flow
Holdup at High Pressures
Data Model


Velocity (ft/s)

30 Vcrit

Vdiscont 0.2

20 0.1

10 0 2 4 6 8 10 12

Vsg (ft/s)

0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Figure 14- Comparison of Zero-net Liquid Flow
Pressure (psig) Holdup at 500 psig

Figure 11- Blowout, Critical and Discontinuity



0.5 1.8

1.6 OPEN Experiment

0.4 Data Model OPEN Model

Vsl (ft/s)




0.1 0.4


0.0 0.0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Vsg (ft/s)

Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 12- Comparison of Zero-net Liquid Flow Holdup at 0 Figure 15- Operational Envelope Comparison


OPEN Experiment
2.3 0.6% Experiment
1.7% Experiment
2.1 2.7% Experiment
4.8% Experiment
1.9 Model 0% LCO
Model 1.5% LCO
1.7 Model 2.5% LCO
Vsl (ft/s)

Model 5% LCO
Model 10% LCO
1.5 (no data)





0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 16- Percent Liquid Carry-over Comparison


OPEN Experiment
OPEN Model
Model 100 psig
1.4 Model 500 psig
Model 1000 psig
Vsl (ft/s)

1.2 Model 2500 psig






0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 17- Operational Envelope at High Pressure Conditions



2.4 OPEN Experiment

2.2 OPEN Model

2.0 OPEN Model 100 psig

Model 5% LCO at 100 psig
Model 10% LCO at 100 psig
Vsl (ft/s)

OPEN Model 2500 psig

Model 5% LCO at 2500 psig
Model 10% LCO at 2500 psig





0 5 10 15 20 25 30
Vsg (ft/s)

Figure 18- Percent Liquid Carry-over at High Pressure Conditions