The development of slugging in two-layer hydraulic flows

David Needham, J Billingham, RMSM Schulkes, AC King

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, we develop a hydraulic theory to describe the occurrence and structure of slugging in a confined two-layer gas-liquid flow generated by prescribed, constant, upstream volumetric flow rates in each layer. A linearized theory for the uniform flow is established, after which we use bifurcation theory to study fully non-linear periodic travelling wave structures. We find that a two-parameter family of such travelling wave solutions exists. Under given conditions, the volumetric flow rate constraint provides a relation between these two parameters. To select a unique periodic travelling wave solution, we require a further relation. We first investigate the conjecture that the periodic travelling wave solution selected in the initial value problem has the same wavelength as the linearly most temporally unstable mode. To do this, we solve the initial value problem numerically on a periodic domain. We find that the separation of the liquid slugs that form is much longer than the wavelength of the most unstable temporal mode. We then develop a different conjecture based on the convective instability of the long 'tails' of the available periodic travelling wave solutions, which leads to a better understanding of the wavelength selection process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-322
Number of pages49
JournalIMA Journal of Applied Mathematics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2007


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