Volume: 1 | Issue: 6

Importance of Flow Conditioning for Separator Performance


During September, the SPE Separations Technology Technical Section hosted “Flow Conditioning Impact on Separations,” presented by Cris Heijckers, managing director of Kranji Solutions.

Heijckers discussed the importance of the distribution of fluid flows in separation vessels. The flow distributions are affected by the vessel, the configuration of its internals, and the layout of the upstream piping connecting to the vessel’s inlet nozzle.

He explained the effects of inlet piping layouts on the flow distribution as it enters the vessel, comparing simulation results of gas-phase computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for various piping layouts. Using multiphase CFD simulations, liquid behavior was illustrated.

Pipe fittings, such as valves, affect the performance of separation vessels. A pressure drop across a valve creates a shearing effect on droplets, making them smaller and more difficult to separate. By optimizing the configuration and location of the vessel’s inlet piping, droplet coalescence can be promoted, which is beneficial to the performance of the separator.

Heijckers concluded with the following guidelines: