Flow

Creating the next-generation of multi-scale modelling tools and measurement techniques for complex multiphase flows

Multiphase flow accordion widget

Theme overview and objectives

We pursue pure and applied multi-disciplinary research, using theory, experiment and numerical simulations, in the areas of multiphase, multi-component fluid mechanics, reactive, non-isothermal flows, flow through porous media, and complex fluids. We develop fundamental understanding of these systems and use this to propose solutions to problems of central importance to industrial and biomedical applications. Examples of these include chemical and bioreactors, coating flow technology, microfluidic and high-throughput devices with materials science, diagnostic and bio-sensor applications, arterial blood flow and drug transport in tumours, process and equipment design and optimisation, energy systems and devices, CO2 capture and sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, multiphase pipeline transportation, rapid depressurisation of hydrocarbon mixtures, fluid mixing, heat transfer, boiling and distillation.

We pursue pure and applied multi-disciplinary research, using theory, experiment and numerical simulations, in the areas of multiphase, multi-component fluid mechanics, reactive, non-isothermal flows, flow through porous media, and complex fluids. We develop fundamental understanding of these systems and use this to propose solutions to problems of central importance to industrial and biomedical applications. Examples of these include chemical and bioreactors, coating flow technology, microfluidic and high-throughput devices with materials science, diagnostic and bio-sensor applications, arterial blood flow and drug transport in tumours, process and equipment design and optimisation, energy systems and devices, CO2 capture and sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, multiphase pipeline transportation, rapid depressurisation of hydrocarbon mixtures, fluid mixing, heat transfer, boiling and distillation.

Methods and capabilities

We are developing and deploying:

  • State-of-the-art laser-based methods for high spatio-temporal diagnostics and simultaneous measurements for multi-physics information;
  • A combination of microscopy, microfluidics, and acousto-fluidics, to provide precision dynamic measurements on the micro- and nanoscale; 
  • Laboratory-scale to mini-plant scale reactors ranging from structured packed beds to bubble slurry columns to algal bioreactors;
  • Non-invasive imaging techniques, such as X-ray Computed Tomography and Positron Emission Tomography in high-pressure, high-temperature core-analyses;
  • Computational tools that feature front-tracking/level-set, and volume-of-fluid methods, discrete-element methods, adaptive unstructured mesh adaptivity, and massive-parallelisation;

Multi-scale tools suitable for representing the relevant phenomena at various scales, including molecular scales, and their integration within macro-scale process simulation systems.

Highlights

Density-functional theory computation of fluid density configurations in a square nanopore with highly attractive walls.
Density-functional theory computation of fluid density configurations in a square nanopore with highly attractive walls. The competition between fluid-fluid and fluid-substrate intermolecular interactions can create a rather rich picture of fluid nanostructures

Equilibrium states of a fluid filling a nanocapillary

Equilibrium states of a fluid filling a nanocapillary (with dimensions 30 × 100 molecular diameters). There is an asymmetry between the top and bottom walls as far as their wetting characteristics are concerned, the bottom wall is hydrophilic and the top one is hydrophobic. This gives rise to a foot-like structure that invades the whole domain. Bottom: “Bifurcation diagram for the adsorption as a function of the distance of the chemical potential from saturation showing hysteresis behaviour associated with a first-order equilibrium phase transition.

V. Poulichet,  V. Garbin, Cooling particle-coated bubbles: destabilization beyond dissolution arrest, Langmuir 31, 12035 (2015).
V. Poulichet, V. Garbin, Cooling particle-coated bubbles: destabilization beyond dissolution arrest, Langmuir 31, 12035 (2015).

Flat plate photo-bioreactor; normalised local light intensity in the PBR obtained from CFD simulations (Zhang et al., Algal Research, 8, 99-107 (2015)).
Flat plate photo-bioreactor; normalised local light intensity in the PBR obtained from CFD simulations (Zhang et al., Algal Research, 8, 99-107 (2015)).

Planar-laser-induced fluorescene (PLIF) and partilce-tracking velocimetry of downwards annular flows.
Planar-laser-induced fluorescene (PLIF) and partilce-tracking velocimetry of downwards annular flows.

Quantification of capillary pressure (Pc) heterogeneity in a sandstone rock using non-invasive X-ray CT imaging to observe gas saturation distribution for ~10 mm3 voxels ( modified from: Pini R. and S. M. Benson (2015) Quantifying Hydrogeological Heterogeneity of Rocks using Core-Floods, in Pore Scale Phenomena: Frontiers in Energy and Environment. World Scientific, pp. 243-261.
Quantification of capillary pressure (Pc) heterogeneity in a sandstone rock using non-invasive X-ray CT imaging to observe gas saturation distribution for ~10 mm3 voxels ( modified from: Pini R. and S. M. Benson (2015) Quantifying Hydrogeological Heterogeneity of Rocks using Core-Floods, in Pore Scale Phenomena: Frontiers in Energy and Environment. World Scientific, pp. 243-261.

Multi-physics modelling of thrombolysis under the influence of blood flow: velocity streamlines and velocity vectors for different pressure drops. The dark region represents the amount of clot lysed (Piebalgs A, Xu XY. 2015 Towards a multi-physics modelling framework for thrombolysis under the influence of blood flow. J. R. Soc. Interface 12: 20150949. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0949
Multi-physics modelling of thrombolysis under the influence of blood flow: velocity streamlines and velocity vectors for different pressure drops. The dark region represents the amount of clot lysed (Piebalgs A, Xu XY. 2015 Towards a multi-physics modelling framework for thrombolysis under the influence of blood flow. J. R. Soc. Interface 12: 20150949. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0949

Multiphase flow facilities for gas-liquid, liquid-liquid, and gas-liquid-liquid systems with heat transfer and phase change.
Multiphase flow facilities for gas-liquid, liquid-liquid, and gas-liquid-liquid systems with heat transfer and phase change.

Numerical simulations of droplet impact on a thin film under atmospheric (left) and 70 bar high-pressure steam (right) conditions
Numerical simulations of droplet impact on a thin film under atmospheric (left) and 70 bar high-pressure steam (right) conditions.

Numerical simulations of microfluidics (left); comparison with experimental data (right)
Numerical simulations of microfluidics (left); comparison with experimental data (right)

Highlight videos

Molecular Fluid Dynamics

Everything is made of molecules; and fluids are no exception. The motion of a fluid can be understood in terms of the collective motion of its molecules bouncing, jiggling, and flowing together. In this video, we take a look at the molecular origins of many well-known phenomena, including the flow of a fluid at the nano-scale, the collective motions which lead to turbulent-like structures, the formation of droplets, the impact of introducing chemicals like soap (a surfactant) and the molecular origins of bubbles in boiling phenomena.

Molecular Fluid Dynamics

Molecular Fluid Dynamics

Molecules bouncing, jiggling, and flowing together.

Everything is made of molecules; and fluids are no exception. The motion of a fluid can be understood in terms of the collective motion of its molecules bouncing, jiggling, and flowing together. In this video, we take a look at the molecular origins of many well-known phenomena, including the flow of a fluid at the nano-scale, the collective motions which lead to turbulent-like structures, the formation of droplets, the impact of introducing chemicals like soap (a surfactant) and the molecular origins of bubbles in boiling phenomena.

3D DNS of spray formation with the Code BLUE

3D DNS of spray formation with the Code BLUE

3D DNS of spray formation with the Code BLUE

Three dimensional direct numerical simulation liquid jet surrounded by a faster coaxial air flow using 2048 cores in an IBM BlueGene/Q machine.

Shaking drop DNS with BLUE

Shaking drop DNS with BLUE

A vibrated drop constitutes a very rich physical system, blending both interfacial and volume phenom

A vibrated drop constitutes a very rich physical system, blending both interfacial and volume phenomena. A remarkable experimental study was performed by M. Costalonga (PhD. Université Paris Diderot, 2015) highlighting sessile drop motion subject to horizontal, vertical and oblique vibration. Several intriguing phenomena are observed such as drop walking and rapid droplet ejection. We perform three-dimensional direct numerical simulations of vibrating sessile drops where the phenomena described above are computed using the massively parallel multiphase code BLUE. The fluid interface solver is based on a parallel implementation of a hybrid Front Tracking/Level Set method designed to handle highly deforming interfaces with complex topology changes. We developed parallel GMRES and multigrid iterative solvers suited to the linear systems arising from the implicit solution for the fluid velocities and pressure in the presence of strong density and viscosity discontinuities across fluid phases.

Drop breakup from a nozzle

Drop breakup from a nozzle

Three-Dimensional Direct Numerical Simulation of Drop Coming out from a Nozzle.

3D DNS falling film annular flow Re~600

3D DNS falling film annular flow Re~600

3D DNS falling film annular flow Re~600