Experimental investigation of the parameters that affect droplet size and distribution for design calculations of two-phase separators

Kul Pun, Faik Hamad, Tariq Ahmed, Johnson Ugwu, Safa Najim, James Eyers, Gary Lawson, Paul Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The critical design parameter when sizing a separator is the size of oil droplets in the water phase. This study improves the design of a separator by investigating the parameters that control droplet size, frequency, and distribution. Experimental work was performed to investigate the effect of flow rates and oil layer thickness on these parameters. Experiments were performed using a transparent laboratory separator to allow the measurement of droplet properties. The Design of the Experiment (DOE) method with the Taguchi analysis was applied to investigate statistically if droplet properties are solely a function of the independent variables or if they interact. The findings show that the results can be modelled using Gaussian distributions. Droplet size distribution and the number of droplets produced are functions of the interaction between oil flow rate and oil pad thickness. The oil flow rate dominates the droplet size though layer thickness has a minor effect. The number of droplets (Frequency) increases with both oil and water flow rates but decreases with oil pad thickness. There are clear interactions between all variables resulting in different droplet frequencies for combined effects. The distribution of the droplet sizes is controlled by oil layer thickness, where the spread is seen to rise with thickness. However, interactions between the fluid flows and oil pad thickness give rise to different droplet distributions if either variable were changed on its own.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15397
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Darby tech limited via the INTENSIVE INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION PROGRAMME (IIIP) project reference 34R17P02148.

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge Teesside University and DarbyTech limited for funding this project via the INTENSIVE INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION PROGRAMME (IIIP). Their support is greatly acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


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