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Oil spill containment by use of air bubbles - Numerical simulations


The present report describes the numerical simulation activities conducted as a part of a feasibility study on the use of bubble curtains for enhanced oil containment. Two concepts have been assessed; i.e. an integral plume model (Chapter 2) and general Computational Fluid Dynamics models (CFD) (Chapter 3).Integral plume models are mostly applied to circular plumes originating from a point source, and have to be modified to be applied to a flat bubble curtain originating from a line source. The governing equations for this case are presented in the first section of Chapter 2. A 2D bubble plume model including cross flow and stratified water have been developed from these equations, and some simulation results are given to demonstrate the use of this model for design purposes. The objective of the CFD study presented in Chapter 3 was to demonstrate that the main features of a bubble curtain oil barrier can be simulated with a CFD model. Such simulations represent a multiphase problem, including water, oil and air bubbles, and different methods for representing these phases are demonstrated. The results from the present study indicate that the chosen CFD model (Flow3D) can producing realistic simulations of oil containment by bubble curtains, but model calibration and verification against results from laboratory studies should be performed to assure reliable results. This report also exists in a Restricted version with identification SINTEF F8994.






  • Øistein Johansen
  • Bård Brørs


  • SINTEF Ocean / Climate and Environment




SINTEF rapport



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