Evaluating Flow and Heat Transfer with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

We develop customized flow models using CFD. These models can include:

  • Complex flow path geometries;
  • Custom fluid property models based on field or laboratory measurements;
  • Discrete particles including liquid droplets and solids;
  • Transient flow;
  • Heat transfer – liquid-liquid and liquid-boundary;
  • Gas dispersion; and
  • Combustion and chemical reactions.

Consequence Modelling with CFD

We model the release rates from pressurized equipment, pipelines and wellbores to estimate the loss that could occur in the event of a failure. Different sized releases are evaluated considering different mechanisms of failure, ranging from pinhole leaks due to corrosion to rupture due to third-party damage. Localized losses can be caused by jetting fluids, radiant heat from ignited releases and accumulation of toxic or asphyxiating gases in confined spaces. Delayed, wide-spread loss can be caused by dispersing gas clouds that are toxic, asphyxiating or explosive.

Using CFD to Assess Structural Integrity

We use the fluid pressure and temperature distribution results from CFD modeling as input for equipment structural models. Finite element analysis (FEA) is used to determine the structural response of the equipment to ensure that the pressure, flow and temperature conditions do not compromise the integrity of the equipment. This can include steady state, transient or dynamic loading conditions that might occur during abnormal operating conditions or failure events.

Evaluating Erosion, Fouling and Separation with Particle Tracking in CFD

We assess how particles are transported in fluid. In flowing fluid, individual particle trajectories can be modelled to determine if they are being transported or are settling. The particle trajectories are also used to determine where the particles are impacting the equipment wall, which to indicates where erosion could occur.

Particle tracking can also show where particles are settling in low-flow regions,which can lead to fouling. Accumulations of deposited materials can provide locations for microbe colonies to form, which could lead to under-deposit corrosion.

Investigating transient flow conditions can evaluate when settled particles are re-suspended. This information can be used to develop procedures for cleaning vessels or for freeing equipment that is stuck by settled solids.

Separators designed to remove solid particles from liquid streams and liquid droplets from gas streams can be modelled to determine the separation efficiency. The model results can also indicate where the settle material will accumulate in the separator to help design cleaning systems and procedures.

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CFD Example Projects

The CFD approach has been used for the following applications:

  • Thermal well completions;
  • Downhole flow control devices;
  • Oil sands tailings consolidation;
  • Solid-liquid and Liquid-liquid separator vessels;
  • Waste disposal in salt caverns; and
  • Dispersion of hydrogen-methane releases in homes.

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