Heat and Mass Transfer

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 651–669 | Cite as

Study of high viscous multiphase phase flow in a horizontal pipe

  • Yahaya D. Baba
  • Aliyu M. Aliyu
  • Archibong-Eso Archibong
  • Almabrok A. Almabrok
  • A. I. Igbafe


Heavy oil accounts for a major portion of the world’s total oil reserves. Its production and transportation through pipelines is beset with great challenges due to its highly viscous nature. This paper studies the effects of high viscosity on heavy oil two-phase flow characteristics such as pressure gradient, liquid holdup, slug liquid holdup, slug frequency and slug liquid holdup using an advanced instrumentation (i.e. Electrical Capacitance Tomography). Experiments were conducted in a horizontal flow loop with a pipe internal diameter (ID) of 0.0762 m; larger than most reported in the open literature for heavy oil flow. Mineral oil of 1.0–5.0 Pa.s viscosity range and compressed air were used as the liquid and gas phases respectively. Pressure gradient (measured by means differential pressure transducers) and mean liquid holdup was observed to increase as viscosity of oil is increased. Obtained results also revealed that increase in liquid viscosity has significant effects on flow pattern and slug flow features.


High viscosity oil ECT Pressure gradient Flow regime 


Symbols Denote Units


Froude number


Acceleration due to gravity m. s 2


Liquid height m


length m


Pressure kPa


Reynolds number


Velocity m/s

Greek letter


Viscosity Pa.s


Density kg/m 3


Shear rate s −1


Surface tension N/m



Film zone


Gas phase




Liquid phase


Mixture phase


Oil phase


Superficial or slug body







Probability Density Function


Electrical Capacitance Tomography




Multi Modal Tomography Console


Three Dimensional


Free Air Delivery


Internal Diameter


Particle Image Velocimetry


Linear Back Projection


Mixture phase




Oil phase









The authors (YD Baba and AM Aliyu) of this paper will like to thank the Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS) programme for the doctoral degree sponsorship at Cranfield University, the grant numbers are as follows.: PTDF/E/OSS/PHD/BYD/532/12 and PTDF/E/OSS/PHD/AMA/622/12 respectively.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yahaya D. Baba
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aliyu M. Aliyu
    • 3
  • Archibong-Eso Archibong
    • 1
    • 3
  • Almabrok A. Almabrok
    • 4
  • A. I. Igbafe
    • 2
  1. 1.Oil and Gas Engineering CentreCranfield UniversityCranfieldUK
  2. 2.Chemical/Petroleum Engineering DepartmentAfe Babalola UniversityAdo-EkitiNigeria
  3. 3.School of Mechanical EngineeringPusan National UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Petroleum EngineeringFaculty of EngineeringSirteLibya

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