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13.4: Kind of Multi-Phase Flow

Fig. 13.1 Different fields of multi phase flow.

All the flows are a form of multiphase flow. The discussion in the previous chapters is only as approximation when multiphase can be ``reduced'' into a single phase flow. For example, consider air flow that was discussed and presented earlier as a single phase flow. Air is not a pure material but a mixture of many gases. In fact, many proprieties of air are calculated as if the air is made of well mixed gases of Nitrogen and Oxygen. The results of the calculations of a mixture do not change much if it is assumed that the air flow as stratified flow of many concentration layers (thus, many layers (infinite) of different materials). Practically for many cases, the homogeneous assumption is enough and suitable. However, this assumption will not be appropriate when the air is stratified because of large body forces, or a large acceleration. Adopting this assumption might lead to a larger error. Hence, there are situations when air flow has to be considered as multiphase flow and this effect has to be taken into account. In our calculation, it is assumed that air is made of only gases. The creation of clean room is a proof that air contains small particles. In almost all situations, the cleanness of the air or the fact that air is a mixture is ignored. The engineering accuracy is enough to totally ignore it. Yet, there are situations where cleanness of the air can affect the flow. For example, the cleanness of air can reduce the speed of sound. In the past, the breaks in long trains were activated by reduction of the compressed line (a patent no. 360070 issued to In a four (4) miles long train, the breaks would started to work after about 20 seconds in the last wagon. Thus, a 10% change of the speed of sound due to dust particles in air could reduce the stopping time by 2 seconds (50 meter difference in stopping) and can cause an accident. One way to categorize the multiphase is by the materials flows. For example, the flow of oil and water in one pipe is a multiphase flow. This flow is used by engineers to reduce the cost of moving crude oil through a long pipes system. The "average'' viscosity is meaningless since in many cases the water follows around the oil. The water flow is the source of the friction. However, it is more common to categorize the flow by the distinct phases that flow in the tube. Since there are three phases, they can be solid–liquid, solid–gas, liquid–gas and solid–liquid–gas flow. This notion eliminates many other flow categories that can and should be included in multiphase flow. This category should include any distinction of phase/material. There are many more categories, for example, sand and grain (which are "solids'') flow with rocks and is referred to solid–solid flow. The category of liquid–gas should be really viewed as the extreme case of liquid-liquid where the density ratio is extremely large. For the gas, the density is a strong function of the temperature and pressure. Open Channel flow is, although important, is only an extreme case of liquid-gas flow and is a sub category of the multiphase flow. The multiphase is an important part of many processes. The multiphase can be found in nature, living bodies (bio–fluids), and industries. Gas–solid can be found in sand storms, and avalanches. The body inhales solid particle with breathing air. Many industries are involved with this flow category such as dust collection, fluidized bed, solid propellant rocket, paint spray, spray casting, plasma and river flow with live creatures (small organisms to large fish) flow of ice berg, mud flow etc. The liquid–solid, in nature can be blood flow, and river flow. This flow also appears in any industrial process that are involved in solidification (for example die casting) and in moving solid particles. Liquid–liquid flow is probably the most common flow in the nature. Flow of air is actually the flow of several light liquids (gases). Many natural phenomenon are multiphase flow, for an example, rain. Many industrial process also include liquid-liquid such as painting, hydraulic with two or more kind of liquids.


  • Dr. Genick Bar-Meir. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or later or Potto license.