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Research on the flow characteristic in a multi-stage multiphase pump by numerical simulations
Author(s): YI SHI, Hongwu Zhu
Keywords: Multiphase pump; Numerical simulation; Gas-liquid flow; Stage-by-stage design; Subsea boosting.
As a cost-effective option for subsea gas and oil fields development, multiphase pump has been widely used and plays an important role in promoting field production especially for those brownfields. The objective of this research is to study the variations of flow parameters at the import of each stage in a five-stage helico-axial pump under design conditions by using commercial CFD packages. The numerical results show that inlet volume flow rate, gas volume fraction (GVF) and flow angle of each stage both decreases from the first stage to the fifth stage because of the compression. The variations of these parameters along the flow direction are susceptible to the effect of rotational speed and initial gas volume fraction at import of the first stage. These import flow parameters from inlet to outlet of the five-stage pump just change little when the initial inlet GVF is lower than 10% or higher than 90%. While the variation is obvious when inlet GVF is from 20% to 80%. Based on numerical simulation results, the stage-by-stage design method is proposed and geometry parameters such as inlet impeller hub diameter and inlet angle of blade in the second stage are modified according to its import flow conditions. The comparison results between the modified pump and original pump show that pressure distribution at leading edge of impeller blades in each stage becomes uniform in the modified multistage pump. The inlet shock flow loss of each stage is diminished and internal flow conditions has been significantly improved. Thus, the pump’s boosting capacity is enhanced. These research results in this paper are instructive for the performance optimization of multistage pumps used in gas oil fields.