Experimental study on interfacial waves in stratified horizontal oil-water flow

Talal Al-Wahaibi*, Panagiota Angeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Interfacial wave characteristics were studied experimentally in horizontal oil-water pipe flows during stratified flow and at the transition to dual continuous flow, where drops of one phase appear into the other (onset of entrainment). The experimental investigations were carried out in a stainless steel test section with 38mm ID with water and oil (density 828kg/m3and viscosity 5.5mPas) as test fluids. Wave characteristics were obtained with a high speed video camera and a parallel wires conductivity probe that measured the instantaneous fluctuations of the interface. Experiments were conducted at 2m and at 6m from the inlet. Visual observations revealed that no drops are formed when interfacial waves are absent. It was also found that waves have to reach a certain amplitude before drops can detach from their crests. Wave amplitudes are increased as the superficial velocities of both phases increase. In the stratified region, the mean wave amplitude decreases by increasing the oil-water input ratio while mean wavelength increases as the slip velocity between the two-phase decreases. At the onset of entrainment, the mean amplitude and length are found to be a function of the relative velocity between the oil and water layers and of the turbulence in each layer.Interestingly at 2 m from the inlet no drops were found at the onset conditions observed at 6 m, indicating that along the pipe the relative motion of the two phases causes waves to grow in height until finally drops detach from their crests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-940
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Annular
  • Dual continuous
  • Flow pattern transition
  • Oil-water flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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