Solid particle erosion has been recognized as a major concern in the oil and gas production industry. It has been observed that erosion can cause serious and costly damage to equipment and pipelines. Accordingly, different studies have been performed in order to investigate erosion caused by solid particles entrained in the flow. Both experimental and modeling approaches have been used in the past to analyze solid particle erosion under different conditions to be able to mitigate these problems.
The goal of this paper is to use a Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) erosion model to predict erosion caused by particles flowing in 90 degree and long radius bends. The fluid flow model is coupled with a Lagrangian particle tracking approach. The CFD-based prediction procedure consists of three main steps: flow modeling, particle tracking and erosion calculation. The Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) is used as the turbulence model for all fluid flow simulations. Solid particles are injected from the inlet of the pipe and tracked throughout the bend. The effect of the number of particles released on the predicted maximum erosion magnitude has been investigated. In order to study the grid independency of the solution, erosion is predicted for 5 different grid spacings to accurately predict the flow and erosion rates. In order to assess the quality of the numerical predictions of the erosion rate, experimental data for single-phase (gas) flow with sand in a 3-inch pipe were used. The effects of particle size, fluid velocity, pipe diameter and radius as well as particle rebound model on erosion pattern and magnitude are also investigated. Comparison of these results with experimental erosion data demonstrates good agreement of the erosion trends.
It is found that the location of highest erosion for single-phase (gas) flow at low pressure containing sand is around 45° in the elbow. It has been also observed that the 300 μm particles cause approximately two times higher metal loss compared to the 150 μm particles. This higher erosion magnitude is not only caused by the increase in particle momentum but also by the significant increase in particle sharpness for the 300 μm sand. Moreover, simulation results indicate that the increase in gas superficial velocity leads to an increase in the erosion magnitude. According to the results, erosion ratios were reduced exponentially with the increase in pipe diameter at constant flow conditions and particle properties. Furthermore, two available rebound models in the literature were investigated, and simulations illustrate that both methods are in reasonable agreement with experimental data.