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Jet Formation at the Spill Site and Resulting Droplet Size Distributions

  • Karen MaloneEmail author
  • Zachary M. Aman
  • Simeon Pesch
  • Michael Schlüter
  • Dieter Krause
Chapter

Abstract

The size distribution of oil droplets and gas bubbles forming at the exit geometry of a deep-sea blowout is one of the key parameters to understand its propagation and fate in the ocean, whether with regard to rising time to the surface, drift by ocean currents, dissolution or biodegradation. While a large 8 mm droplet might rise to the sea surface within minutes or hours, microdroplets <100 μm may take weeks or months to surface, if at all. On the other hand, a microdroplet or bubble dissolutes faster due to its larger surface to volume ratio and is also more available for biodegrading bacteria. To be able to properly model these effects, it is necessary to understand the drop formation processes near the discharge point and to predict the evolving droplet size distribution (DSD) for the specific conditions.

In this chapter, the general breakup mechanisms and flow regimes of an oil-in-water jet are discussed in Sect. 4.1. Section 4.2 focuses on the different approaches to determine the DSD in the laboratory and field settings and critically reviews the existing datasets. State-of-the-art models for the prediction of the DSD of a subsea oil discharge are presented alongside a new approach based on the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) in Sect. 4.3, while Sect. 4.4 takes a closer look at the specific effects of the deep sea on the DSD. Based on this, Sect. 4.5 discusses the advantages and limitations of subsea dispersant injection. Section 4.6 provides a summary of the chapter and gives an outlook to unresolved questions.

Keywords

Jet formation Droplet size distribution Live oil Median drop size Flow regime Turbulent kinetic energy Turbulence Droplet breakup Near-field In situ measurements Dissolved gas Outgassing Phase change Dispersants 

Nomenclature

Latin

A

Empirical coefficient in the modified Weber number scaling

B

Empirical coefficient in the modified Weber number scaling

CDF

Cumulative distribution function

D

Nozzle/discharge diameter

d32

Sauter diameter

dn50

Median diameter of number distribution

dp

Drop/particle diameter

dv50

Median diameter of volume distribution

DOR

Dispersant-to-oil ratio

DSD

Drop size distribution

erf(x)

Gauss error function

exp(x)

Exponential function

IFT

Interfacial tension

ki

Scaling factor

M

Oil mass inside the nozzle

Oh

Ohnesorge number

p

Pressure

Δp

Pressure drop at the nozzle

Q

Volume flow rate

Re

Reynolds number

ul

Exit velocity of dispersed liquid phase

Vi

Viscosity number

We

Weber number

We*

Modified Weber number

Greek

α

Spreading factor of the Rosin-Rammler distribution function

ε

Turbulent energy dissipation rate

εu

Turbulent energy dissipation rate caused by the exit velocity

εpd

Turbulent energy dissipation rate caused by pressure drop at the nozzle

ηl

Dynamic viscosity of dispersed liquid phase

ρl

Density of dispersed liquid phase

ρc

Density of continuous phase

σ

Spreading factor of the log-normal distribution function

σl

Interfacial tension (IFT) between dispersed liquid phase and continuous phase

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was made possible by a from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative/C-IMAGE. Data are publicly available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) at https://data.gulfresearchinitiative.org/ (DOIs: 10.7266/n7-jjqd-pa77, 10.7266/n7-eha7-tv03, 10.7266/N7V69H19, 10.7266/N77D2SM2).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Malone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zachary M. Aman
    • 2
  • Simeon Pesch
    • 3
  • Michael Schlüter
    • 3
  • Dieter Krause
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Product Development and Mechanical Engineering DesignHamburg University of TechnologyHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Hamburg University of Technology, Institute of Multiphase FlowsHamburgGermany

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