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Engineering LibreTexts Vertical Flow

Fig. 13.6 Gas and liquid in Flow in verstical tube against the gravity.

The vertical flow has two possibilities, with the gravity or against it. In engineering application, the vertical flow against the gravity is more common used. There is a difference between flowing with the gravity and flowing against the gravity. The buoyancy is acting in two different directions for these two flow regimes. For the flow against gravity, the lighter liquid has a buoyancy that acts as an "extra force'' to move it faster and this effect is opposite for the heavier liquid. The opposite is for the flow with gravity. Thus, there are different flow regimes for these two situations. The main reason that causes the difference is that the heavier liquid is more dominated by gravity (body forces) while the lighter liquid is dominated by the pressure driving forces.

Flow Against Gravity

For vertical flow against gravity, the flow cannot start as a stratified flow. The heavier liquid has to occupy almost the entire cross section before it can flow because of the gravity forces. Thus, the flow starts as a bubble flow. The increase of the lighter liquid flow rate will increase the number of bubbles until some bubbles start to collide. When many bubbles collide, they create a large bubble and the flow is referred to as slug flow or plug flow (see Figure 13.6). Notice, the different mechanism in creating the plug flow in horizontal flow compared to the vertical flow. Further increase of lighter liquid flow rate will increase the slug size as more bubbles collide to create "super slug''; the flow regime is referred as elongated bubble flow. The flow is less stable as more turbulent flow and several "super slug'' or churn flow appears in more chaotic way, see Figure 13.6. After additional increase of "super slug'', all these "elongated slug'' unite to become an annular flow. Again, it can be noted the difference in the mechanism that create annular flow for vertical and horizontal flow. Any further increase transforms the outer liquid layer into bubbles in the inner liquid. Flow of near vertical against the gravity in two–phase does not deviate from vertical. The choking can occur at any point depends on the fluids and temperature and pressure.


  • 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.