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Self-lubricated transport of aqueous foams in horizontal conduits

M.I. Briceñoa, D.D. Josephb

aLaboratorio FIRP, University of Los Andes, Mérida, 5101, Venezuela

bDepartment of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (USA)

(Received 15 May 2003; revised 1 October 2003)


The flow characteristics of aqueous foams were studied in a thin flow channel and a round pipe instrumented for pressure gradient and flow rate measurements. The quality of the foam was varied by controlling the volumetric flow rate of liquid and gas, and different flow types were identified and charted. Uniform foams move as a rigid body lubricated by water generated by breaking foam at the wall. A lubrication model leading to a formula for the thickness of the lubricating layer is presented. The formula predicts a layer thickness of 6-8 in the channel and 10-12 in the pipe. The thickness depends weakly on foam quality. An overall correlation for the friction factor as a function of Reynolds number which applies to both channel and pipe is derived. This correlation is consistent with a model in which a rigid core of foam is lubricated by laminar flow of a water layer in the range of measured thickness.

© 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Keywords: Foam; Lubrication; Flow pattern; Foam quality; Lubrication foam flow in pipes