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Multiphase Flow Laboratory

Multiphase Flow Laboratory

Published 10 July 2017

The laboratory's main activity is flow assurance related research for the petroleum industry. It has contributed significantly to the development of multiphase flow simulators, and this is still an ongoing activity. Development of hydrate cold flow technology and sand transport studies are currently also main topics.

The extended Tiller facility. Photo: SINTEF/Thor Nielsen

SINTEF Multiphase Flow Laboratory consists of a new medium-scale multiphase flow laboratory (A), an HPHT laboratory (B), a CO2 capture laboratory (C), and a new office building (D). Along with the large scale loop (E) this test facility will be a foundation for development in subsea oil and gas production in cold environments and over long transportation distances. SINTEF has established a truly unique subsea field development test laboratory which will be able to actively simulate flow assurance challenges for complex three-phase flows in a variety of pipe sizes and configurations. Well streams with compositions, rates, pressures and temperatures covering a wide industryrealistic range will be provided, as well as pipes, instrumentation and equipment to allow studies of all major Flow Assurance challenges.

Laboratory Manager

The Large scale loop

The large scale loop is an industrial scale two-phase flow facility with EX control. The main features are a 500m long pipe rack and a 60 m high riser tower. A typical loop configuration has a total length of 1000 m.

Technical specifications

Large scale loop

Two-phase flow loop

Typical operating pressure 90 bara
Minimum operating pressure 5 bara
Temprature range (typical) 10 - 50 (30)
Flow rate, gas Am3/h 2 to 1500
Flow rate, oil m3/h 3 to 500
Flow rate, water m3/h 50 (gas-water flow)
Oil Naphtha (diesel, crude oil)
Water Limited ability
Gas Nitrogen (any inert gas)
Line sizes 8" (4" and 12")
Horizontal line length 800 meters
Inclinations deg. 0, 0.5, 1
Vertical line length 55 meters


The Medium scale loop

The medium scale loop is located indoor in a 60 m long laboratory hall. By using SF6 as the gas phase, gas densities equal to that of methane at 88 bar can be reached. This facility allows the study of multiphase flow in much greater detail than what is possible in large scale. For example: oil droplets, gas entrainment into oil and droplet entrainment into the gas phase, may be studied in this facility. A 11 m3 separator provides long retention times so that less easily separable fluids, such as viscous oils can be used.

Technical specifications

Medium scale loop

Three-phase flow loop + solids (hydrates etc.)

Typical max operating pressure 10
Minimum operating pressure          atm.
Temprature range (typical) 5 - 50 (20)
Flow rate, gas Am3/h 5 - 160
Flow rate, oil m3/h 0.1 - 80
Flow rate, water m3/h 0.1 to 120
Oil Exxol D80 (any non-flammable HC)
Water Fresh water/brine
Gas Sulphur hexafluorid (any inert gas)
Line sizes 2.5", 3", 4"
Horizontal line length 50
Inclinations deg. -4 to 4
Vertical line length 35 meters


The Real crude laboratory

The use of actual hydrocarbons breaks an important barrier enabling studies of complex chemistry-dependent phenomena.

SINTEF's Real Crude laboratory allows work on high pressure high-temperature (HPHT) fluids. The test loop consists of a 50m long 1in pipe which can be pressurized up to 100bar, and temperature-controlled room from -10ºC to +50ºC. In addition, high-pressure wheel-shaped flow loops are available up to 1000 bar.

Technical specifications

Small scale loop

Three-phase flow loop + solids (hydreates etc.)

Typical operating pressure 100 bara
Minimum operating pressure          atm.
Temprature range (typical) -10 to 80 (4)
Flow rate, gas Am3/h 0 to 3
Flow rate, oil m3/h 0 to 5
Flow rate, water m3/h 0 to 5
Oil Any crude or model oil
Water Any water chemistry
Gas Any (excl. H2S)
Line sizes 1" and 2"
Horizontal line length ~50 m
Inclinations deg. 0 to 90
Vertical line length 2 (flex. conf.)



Multiphase Flow Laboratory (Tiller)

Postal address:
P.O. Box 4763 Torgarden, NO-7465 Trondheim
Visiting address:
Tillerbruvegen 200, NO-7092 Trondheim
Phone: +47 464 17 000