The purpose of the research in the area of separation is to reveal and establish a fundamental understanding of basic mechanisms and phenomena governing multiphase separation including phase dispersion processes.
The project is focused on developing a description and basic understanding of the multiphase system in pipelines and separation equipment. Emphasis is put on complex fluids that are difficult to separate, either because of complex surface chemistry or high oil viscosity (i.e. heavy crude). For such fluids both chemical and physical destabilisation will be important. This new basic understanding will be used to improve existing and to develop new separation processes.
The selection of the fluids to be used by the project is critical. It is obvious that for practical purposes there is a need for “clean” reference systems. On the other hand, there are some benefits expected in terms of model qualification against field data from a reference system mimicking the properties of a selected crude oil. This is the philosophy of the reference fluids from Ugelstad laboratory.
Droplet Size Measurement (average and distribution) is obviously a critical point for the separation project (as well as for the transport project). The separation project hosts the benchmarking of measurement techniques for all projects, with the final objective to qualify/develop technique(s) to be used by other experimental activities within the transport and separation project. However, in addition to the challenges of measuring a DSD that is changing both in time and with position, it is not straightforward to extract deterministic coalescence kinetics from this information (problem of incomplete matrix inversion). Neither is it straightforward to implement this information into a modelling framework for the separation process.