2020: Hydrodynamics of gas-liquid slug flows in a long in-plane spiral shaped milli-reactor


An experimental investigation of gas–liquid Taylor flows in a millimetric in-plane spiral shaped reactor with various tube curvature ratios (52 < λ < 166) is reported. Thanks to the compactness of the reactor and the use of an ad hoc imaging system and processing, the axial evolution of bubble lengths and velocities could be recorded and extracted along the whole reactor length (~3 m). The experimental results showed a significant linear increase of bubble length and velocity with axial position. Very long, stable Taylor bubbles (LB/dit up to 40) and liquid slugs were generated, in particular due to the poor wettability of the surface and the important role it played in bubble formation. At identical inertial force (i.e., identical Reynolds number), a higher centrifugal force (i.e., lower tube curvature ratio) likely led to shorter Taylor bubble lengths while only slightly affecting the liquid slug lengths. The axial pressure drop could be estimated from the axial increase in bubble volume, and compared with the measured pressure drop and that predicted by the correlations from literatures. By considering both the friction and capillary pressure drops, it was observed that the predicted two-phase pressure drop was slightly dependent on the centrifugal force and that the capillary pressure drop, determined from the unit cell number, capillary number and static contact angle, was dominant.