Slug formation analysis of liquid-liquid two-phase flow in T-junction microchannels

[+] Author and Article Information
Jin-yuan Qian

Rm114 in No.4 Teaching Building No.38 Zheda Road Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027 China qianjy@zju.edu.cn

Xiao-juan Li

Zhed Road 38 Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027 China lixiaojuan@zju.edu.cn

Zan Wu

Dept Energy Sciences, Lund University P.O. Box 118 Lund, 22100 Sweden zan.wu@energy.lth.se

Zhi-jiang Jin

Institute of Chemical Machinery and Process Equipment No. 38, Zheda Road Hangzhou, 310027 China jzj@zju.edu.cn

Junhui Zhang

State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power Transmission and Control, Zhejiang University No. 38 Zheda Road Hangzhou, Select State/Province 310027 China benzjh@zju.edu.cn

Bengt Sunden

Dept of Energy Sciences, Lund University Box 118 Lund, 22100 Sweden Bengt.Sunden@energy.lth.se

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications. Manuscript received July 4, 2018; final manuscript received March 27, 2019; published online xx xx, xxxx. Assoc. Editor: Ayyoub M. Momen.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4043385 History: Received July 04, 2018; Accepted March 27, 2019


Slug flow is a common flow pattern in liquid-liquid two-phase flow in microchannels. It is an ideal pattern for mass transfer enhancement. Many factors influence the slug formation such as the channel geometries (channel widths, channel depth), flow rates of the two phase and physical properties. In this paper, in order to investigate the liquid-liquid two-phase slug formation in a T-junction microchannel quantitatively, the volume of fluid (VOF) method is adopted to simulate the whole slug formation process. With the validated model, the effects of the disperse phase channel width, channel depth and two-phase flow rate ratio on slug formation frequency and slug size (slug volume and slug length) are analyzed with dimensionless parameters. Dimensionless parameters include disperse-to-continuous phase channel width ratio, height-to-width ratio and two-phase flow rate ratio. Results show that both the channel geometry and two-phase flow rate ratio have significant influence on slug formation. Compared to the conventional slug formation stages, a new stage called lag stage emerges when the disperse phase channel width decreases to half of the continuous phase channel width. When the channel depth decreases to one third of the continuous phase channel width, the flow patterns become instable and vary with the two-phase flow rate ratio. Moreover, empirical correlations are proposed to predict the slug formation frequency. The correlation between slug formation frequency and slug volume is quantified.

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