Multi-scale Exploration of MultiPhase Physics In FlowS (MEMPHIS)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Department of Chemical Engineering

Abstract

This project is an opportunity to harness the synergy between world-leading scientists from four prestigious institutions to create the next generation modelling tools for complex multiphase flows. These flows are central to micro-fluidics, virtually every processing and manufacturing technology, oil-and-gas and nuclear applications, and biomedical applications such as lithotripsy and laser-surgery cavitation. The ability to predict the behaviour of multiphase flows reliably will address a major challenge of tremendous economic, scientific, and societal benefit to the UK. The Programme will achieve this goal by developing a single modelling framework that establishes, for the first time, a transparent linkage between input (models and/or data) and prediction; this will allow systematic error-source identification, and, therefore, directed, optimal, model-driven experimentation, to maximise prediction accuracy. The framework will also feature optimal selection of massively-parallelisable numerical methods, capable of running efficiently on 10^5-10^6 core supercomputers, optimally-adaptive, three-dimensional resolution, and the most sophisticated multi-scale physical models. This framework will offer unprecedented resolution of multi-scale, multiphase phenomena, minimising the reliance on correlations and empiricism. The investigators' synergy, and their long-standing industrial collaborations, will ensure that this Programme will result in a paradigm-shift in multiphase flow research worldwide. We will demonstrate our capabilities in two areas of strategic importance to the UK: by providing insights into novel manufacturing processes, and reliable prediction of multiphase flow regime transitions in the oil-and-gas industry. Our framework will be sufficiently general to address a number of other industrial and environmental global challenges, which we detail herein.

Planned Impact

Our Programme will lead to the resolution of a number of fundamental open problems in multiphase flows leading to the development of validated simulation tools for the academic and industrial community, with impact on the UK economy, people and society. Our transformative research will impact:
- The FMCG and fine chemicals/catalysis sectors, via the ability to design novel flow processes to produce controlled, multiphase structures.
- The oil-and-gas sector, where it will lead to validated, powerful numerical predictive tools employed for flow assurance by industry, supplanting existing far less reliable ones.
- The nuclear industry, where our models and simulation tools will support the development of intensified evaporation and extractive separation processes.
We will also impact a number of other applications, e.g. atomisation and fuel release in engines (automotive), lava flows, ocean and tsunami modelling (geophysics).
We will impact the non-academic community through a number of industrial partners:
- Chevron: simulation of gas-liquid flow regime transitions in pipes of varying diameter.
- Johnson Matthey: multi-scale simulation of the blending of miscible and immiscible complex fluids in the manufacture of catalyst slurries and washcoats.
- Procter & Gamble: production of bespoke multiple-emulsions for structured-product manufacturing; simulation of downwards-annular flow reactors for personal care products manufacturing.
- CD-Adapco: rational development of state-of-the-art sub-grid models and closures, leading to significant improvement of CFD tools.
- AspenTech: the need to improve the predictive capabilities of pressure drop and heat transfer methods for liquid-liquid flows.
We will engage with our partners through a variety of ways:
- Our Steering Committee (SC) will advise on the results that can maximise industrial impact;
- Our existing consortium of industrial partners at Imperial (oil-and-gas) and Birmingham (FMCG, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals) will be integrated to provide a platform for dissemination, identification of opportunities for technical solutions to problems, and cross-fertilization of ideas;
- CIKTN, special interest groups, ERC, EU FP networks will provide other dissemination platforms and mechanisms for technological transfer;
- Twice-yearly meetings with the most prominent scientists, engineers and industrialists in multiphase flow, including aerospace and automotive industries, civil engineering and geophysics; major symposia half-way through the Programme and in its final year to present our major findings, advertised as widely as possible.
- We will run training programmes and encourage secondments and/or extended visits by industrialists to our research groups, and ensure that our researchers spend secondments in our partner companies;
- Generic, commercially insensitive, software developed as part of the Programme will be released as open-source;
- An active Programme Manager will drive commercialisation, manage all secondments, and our dedicated website.
We will transfer technology through early release of research software and/or experimental techniques; the secondment of researchers and/or commercialisation. We will also disseminate our findings widely through papers in prestigious journals, presentations at national and international conferences, a seminar and webinar series to which the most prominent scientist, , engineers and industrialists in the area will be invited (including 'adjacent' disciplines), active national and international collaborations.
Delivery of this research programme will deliver societal impact via:
- Sustainable processing due to superior equipment design, reduced process scale, downtime and wastage;
- Public and young people engagement activities;
- Bespoke consumer goods with advanced properties.

Publications


10 25 50
Abdulahi A (2014) Two-Phase Upward Flow in a Slightly Deviated Pipe in Journal of Fluids Engineering
Abdulkadir M (2014) Experimental study of the hydrodynamic behaviour of slug flow in a vertical riser in Chemical Engineering Science
Azzopardi B (2014) Persistence of frequency in gas-liquid flows across a change in pipe diameter or orientation in International Journal of Multiphase Flow
Barral A (2015) Investigations of interfacial waves at the inlet section in stratified oil-water flows in Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Barral A (2014) Spectral density analysis of the interface in stratified oil-water flows in International Journal of Multiphase Flow
 
Description This £5M project is on-going and the hope is to be able to produce the next-generation codes for multiphase flows. Two out of 5 years have gone and we are rapidly approaching the two-steps solution.
Exploitation Route The codes being developed are massively parallsesible and have 3D unstructred meshing . It promises to be significantly versatile.
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy
 
Description We are producing the next-generation predictive tools for complex multiphase flows. These tools will be used for modelling and simulation of multiphase flows in a number of industrial sectors, e.g. oil-and-gas, fast-moving consumer goods etc. We are working with a number of companies that will benefit from the tools which we are developing.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic
 
Description BP support for MEMPHIS Programme Grant
Amount $50,000 (USD)
Organisation BP (British Petroleum) 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 01/2013 
End 01/2018
 
Description Detailed Understanding and Development of Wax Control Chemical
Amount £587,219 (GBP)
Organisation Petronas 
Sector Private
Country Malaysia
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2017
 
Description Liquid-liquid horizontal flows
Amount £170,000 (GBP)
Organisation BP (British Petroleum) 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2013 
End 10/2016
 
Description Liquid-liquid mixers
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Cameron International Corporation 
Sector Private
Country United States of America
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2017
 
Description Responsive mode (Fluids CDT)
Amount £4,280,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L016230/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 04/2014 
End 04/2022
 
Description Responsive mode (Severe accidents modelling)
Amount £244,071 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M012794/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2014 
End 03/2017
 
Description Sand particle size management
Amount £589,806 (GBP)
Organisation Petronas 
Sector Private
Country Malaysia
Start 01/2015 
End 01/2018
 
Description Simulation of shear in grease kettles
Amount £122,000 (GBP)
Organisation Shell Global Solutions UK 
Sector Private
Country Netherlands, Kingdom of the
Start 01/2015 
End 01/2016
 
Description Support for MEMPHIS Programme Grant (P and G)
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States of America
Start 01/2013 
End 01/2018
 
Description Surfactant effects on vertical gas-liquid flows
Amount £146,000 (GBP)
Organisation Shell Global Solutions UK 
Sector Private
Country Netherlands, Kingdom of the
Start 09/2014 
End 09/2016
 
Title TMF database 
Description Database for multiphase flow data (e.g. flow regimes and their transitions for various flows as a function of system parameters). The data are collected as part of the TMF consortium, which compromises 14 oil-and-gas companies and design and software houses, led by Omar Matar. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact TMF sponsors have access to the database and they have used it to improve their understanding of multiphase flows, which improves their design capabilities. The software houses that sponsor TMF use the data to validate the predictions of their codes. 
 
Description Strategic partnership with Procter and Gamble 
Organisation Procter & Gamble
Country United States of America 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Engaged with P&G researchers to provide solutions to problems in the area of multiphase flows.
Collaborator Contribution Engaged with the research group to provide a constant source of good problems to work on, secondment opportunities for our researchers, and cash contribution.
Impact Procter and Gamble have provided £100000 cash contribution which was instrumental in our winning an EPSRC Programme Grant.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Imperial Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our demonstrations of multiphase flows generated lots of excitement among the attendees (from the public).

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2014
 
Description Rising bubbles in non-Newtonian fluids (Wales) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited to present at the Wales Institute of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics meeting in honour of Ken Walters' 80th birthday, at Lake Vyrnwy, Wales, April 14 - 16, 2014. The talk generated interest in the modelling rising bubbles in non-Newtonian fluids.


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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description TMF meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meetings of the Transient Multiphase Flow consortium, led by Omar Matar, are instrumental in facilitating tech. transfer. There are 14 companies within TMF (e.g. BP, Shell, Chevron, Petrobras, Statoil, TOTAL, Schlumberger, ENI, Cameron, etc.) and we have semi-annual sponsors' meetings in which sponsored students present their findings.

Continued funding of our multiphase flow activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Talk on MEMPHIS (Daresbury lab) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave a presentation on the capabilities being developed as part of the MEMPHIS Programme Grant. The talk generated considerable interest and led to a very useful discussion with colleagues from industry and academia.

After the talk, I was approached by company representatives for potential collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The next generation of predictive tools for multiphase flows (LSU) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited seminar presented as part of the Enabling Process Innovation through Computation seminar series, Louisiana State College of Engineering, Centre for Computation and Technology, April 4, 2014. This followed a talk given by OKM at the AICHE. The talk at LSU generated a lot of discussion on innovation through simulations and the use of MEMPHIS Programme Grant tools to do that. There was a lot of interest in this from the numerous academics and company reps in the audience.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014