Influx of sand into gas or oil pipelines is often experienced in offshore oil & gas fields. Erosion on pipelines, screens, throttle valves and other pipe fittings by sand particles is a concern to the safety and reliability of operation of the oil & gas infrastructure. To avoid potential erosion during operations, it is beneficial to optimise the design and operational parameters to minimise the erosion rate. It is therefore highly desirable to predict the erosion damage by sand particles through modelling.

Particle erosion modelling is complex and requires a good understanding of the dynamics of particles – specifically, the particle velocity and impingement angle, and its relationship to the removal of material at the equipment surface (e.g. pipe). CSIRO Australia has developed a comprehensive modelling approach utilising laboratory testing in parallel with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to determine the erosion rate for a given flow geometry, fluid-solid flow condition, material properties and erodent characteristic.

This paper presents an overview of CSIRO's laboratory modelling and testing methods for erosion damage assessment for design optimisation. A method to calibrate a CFD erosion model is presented, and a rapid laboratory visual erosion approach employing a multi-layer paint erosion modelling is also introduced.

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