Investigations on gas-liquid flows in horizontal pipes are of immanent importance for Reactor Safety Research. In case of a breakage of the main cooling circuit of a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), the pressure losses of the gas-liquid flow significantly govern the loss of coolant rate. The flow regime is largely determined by liquid and gas superficial velocities and contains slug flow that causes high-pressure pulsations to the infrastructure of the main cooling circuit.
Experimental and numerical investigations on adiabatic slug flow of a water-air system were carried out in a horizontal pipe of about 10 m length and 54 mm diameter at atmospheric pressure and room temperature. Stereoscopic high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry in combination with Laser Induced Fluorescence was successfully applied on round pipe geometry to determine instantaneous three-dimensional water velocity fields of slug flows.
After grid independence studies, numerical simulations were run with the open-source CFD program OpenFOAM. The solver uses the VOF method (Volume of Fluid) with phase-fraction interface capturing approach based on interface compression. It provides mesh refinement at the interfacial area to improve resolution of the interface between the two phases. Furthermore, standard k-ε turbulence model was applied in an unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier Stokes (URANS) model to resolve self-induced slug formation.
The aim of this work is to present the feasibility of both relatively novel possibilities of determining two-phase slug flows in pipes. Experimental and numerical results allow the comparison of the slug initiation and expansion process with respect to their axial velocities and cross-sectional void fractions.