Development of a Method and Device
for High-Pressure Optical Access for
Inclusive Dates: 06/01/99 - Current
Background - In general, the most effective technique for understanding the behavior of multiphase flow and fluid flow is visual inspection. Having a visual account of flow phenomena leads to a level of understanding that could not be achieved using only "blind" instrumentation. Images and video convey information to the client in ways that can be more easily understood to help them fully appreciate the value and quality of the funded research.
To reduce the risk of applying laboratory data to full-scale systems, the oil and gas industry is pushing to achieve more field-like conditions for research projects. Laboratory facilities are required to operate at higher flow rates and elevated pressures where there are limited techniques for studying fluid flow phenomena under these conditions. A high-pressure optical access device would be extremely useful for these applications.
Approach - The objective of this project is to develop an instrument for effectively observing fluid flow phenomena in high-pressure environments. First, the needs of past projects and future opportunities were reviewed, followed by an extended review of existing hardware that can be modified to fit the specifications. A device was designed, fabricated, and tested in facilities that included the Multi-phase Flow Facility. A video of a "hydrate slurry" flowing intermittently toward the camera, with hydrate deposition on the pipe wall is included. The video may be played by clicking on the hyperlink in the illustration's title.
Accomplishments - A system has been developed that allows for optical access in high-pressure (up to 3,600 psig) piping systems. The system, capable of being inserted and extracted from a pipeline while the pipeline is pressurized, consists of: