Magnetic resonance measurement of fluid dynamics and transport in tube flow of a near-critical fluid


An ability to predict fluid dynamics and transport in supercritical fluids is essential for optimization of applications such as carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, “green†solvents, and supercritical coolant systems. While much has been done to model supercritical velocity distributions, experimental characterization is sparse, owing in part to a high sensitivity to perturbation by measurement probes. Magnetic resonance (MR) techniques, however, detect signal noninvasively from the fluid molecules and thereby overcome this obstacle to measurement. MR velocity maps and propagators (i.e., probability density functions of displacement) were acquired of a flowing fluid in several regimes about the critical point, providing quantitative data on the transport and fluid dynamics in the system. Hexafluoroethane (C2F6) was pumped at 0.5 ml/min in a cylindrical tube through an MR system, and propagators as well as velocity maps were measured at temperatures and pressures below, near, and above the critical values. It was observed that flow of C2F6 with thermodynamic properties far above or below the critical point had the Poiseuille flow distribution of an incompressible Newtonian fluid. Flows with thermodynamic properties near the critical point exhibit complex flow distributions impacted by buoyancy and viscous forces. The approach to steady state was also observed and found to take the longest near the critical point, but once it was reached, the dynamics were stable and reproducible. These data provide insight into the interplay between the critical phase transition thermodynamics and the fluid dynamics, which control transport processes.




Bray JM, Rassi EM, Seymour JD, Codd SL, "Magnetic resonance measurement of fluid dynamics and transport in tube flow of a near-critical fluid," Exp Fluids, 2014 55(7):1777
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