Multiphase Flow Laboratory

Department of Energy and Process Engineering

Multiphase Flow Laboratory

The Multiphase Flow facilities are located in the Thermal Engineering Laboratory at NTNU. The laboratory has been developed by Professor Ole Jørgen Nydal (Process and Power Group). 

Oil-water-air flow in pipes


Oil and water are circulated with centrifugal or displacement pumps and metered before mixing with air at the inlet of the test sections. The air is taken from the central supply at the university and the pressure is reduced from about 7 bar to about 3-4 bar in a buffer tank.

The air and the liquid streams can be routed to three types of test sections

  • Straight pipes (3, 6, 9 cm ID) mounted on a 16 m long aluminum beam
  • Straight pipes extended with two bends, to give about 50 m length of test section
  • A pipe configuration for severe slugging mounted on the wall (5 cm ID). Two S-shaped geometries are available, one in acrylic pipes and one in steel with a choke at the outlet which can lead to some pressurization (4 bar) of the system.
  • An inclinable 7 m long section for upwards and downwards flow at all inclinations between horizontal and vertical

Flexible pipes are also used whenever appropriate. Experiments have been made with flexible jumpers and with a 100 m long pipe layout on the floor.

Impedance probes are used for hold up measurements (flush ring probes and external capacitance based clamp-on probes). Tests have been made with acoustic censors. A 5 beam gamma densitometer is installed. The visualization systems include an incline microscope (PVM instrument), a ray of syncronized cameras and small inline cameras.

The main purpose of the loop is to provide a flow laboratory for students and researchers (projects, MSc, PhD, PostDoc.) and a demonstration facility which can be used for education purposes.

The loop is operated through a Labview interface.

Ill. Multiphase

NetLab - Remote operating

The Multiphase Flow Laboratory can be operated remotely over the Internet.

A person in the laboratory can, after following an initiation and a safety procedure, hand over the control to a remote user.

After being granted operational control, the user can operate the following through the standard Labview interface:

  • Adjust the pump frequency and valve settings for the flow of water, oil and air
  • Control a general web camera on the wall
  • Log time traces for predefined instrumentation (typically impedance probes and pressure sensors)

Mini loop

We have made several versions of a portable laboratory the "mini-loop". A box containing a pump, compressor, separator, pressure and flow gauges. The air and water can then be connected to acrylic pipes, which are supported on alumina beams. The small acrylic pipes can be configured.

Photo: Mini loop pipeThe main use of the loop is for educational purposes. Typical two phase flow situations can be demonstrated and students can perform exercises using the loop. Some cases can also be useful for quantitative purposes, with measurements and comparisons with flow models.

Typical cases are:

  • Flow regimes (limited due to small diameter)s
  • Terrain slugging
  • Gas lift
  • Gravity dominated flows in undulating pipelines
  • Flows with flexible pipes submerged in water

Water pool

A water pool (4 m long, 1.5 m high and 0.6 m wide) is available for small scale experiments with two phase flow in submerged pipes. The main motivation for this pool is to demonstrate two-way coupling of the internal flow dynamics and the movements of the pipe. Experiments are made in support of model development on the coupling of structural models and multiphase flow models.

Flexible pipes in the water pool is demonstrated in the video below:

Model tank for flexible pipes from IVTFakultetet on Vimeo.


Visiting address

Visiting address

Varmeteknisk lab (Thermal Engineering lab)
Kolbjørn Hejes v. 1D, NO-7491 Trondheim