Abstract

This work provides a preliminary study of solids adherence on the surfaces of a sliding-sleeve valve (SSV), aiming to mimic inorganic scaling process. SSVs assembled in production sites subjected to water flooding might suffer from scale deposits of barium sulphate. Scaling may result in production stops, production restriction and also heavy workover jobs, reducing project profitability. The simulation of the scaling formation process allows the observation of fouling hotspots and, shortly, it can become a powerful tool to increase the valves reliability in scaling-prone scenarios. In the present problem, a four-way coupled CFD-DEM technique simulates the liquid-solid two-phase flow considering the solids particles as precipitated of barium sulfate crystals. The Discrete Element method allows the evaluation of inter particles interactions, such as collision, friction and adhesion, accounting for relevant phenomena such as particulate agglomerates build-up and particles adhesion on surfaces. The fluid-particle interaction forces arise from the simulation of the flow field through CFD. The main motivation is to analyze the influence of particle granulometry over the fouling process, keeping constant the scale index. The size distribution follows a normal distribution and reducing the mean dimension (smaller particles) results in more particles within the domain. The increase in the number of particles stimulate the formation of particulate agglomerates, which adhere on the grooves and holes of the SSV. Furthermore, agglomerates of tinier particles are less permeable, which accentuates the increase of the pressure drop in the valve.

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