Operating ranges of gas-liquid capillary microseparators: experiments and theory

Roydhouse, Mark D.; Pradas, Marc; Al-Rifai, Noor; Azizi, Benjamin; Cao, Enhong; Kalliadasis, Serafim and Gavriilidis, Asterios (2014). Operating ranges of gas-liquid capillary microseparators: experiments and theory. Chemical Engineering Science, 114 30 - 39.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2014.04.017

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...

Abstract

An experimental and theoretical study of capillary gas/liquid phase microseparators is presented. The device studied comprises a main microchannel with a set of capillaries fabricated to each side so that the liquid (wetting) phase can be separated from the gas (non-wetting) phase due to capillary effects. Different units are employed with different characteristics of capillaries (constant or tapered cross-sectional area and capillary size). We study how complete separation depends on the externally controlled pressure difference at the liquid and the gas outlet and how separation is affected by the imposed inlet flow rate. The results demonstrate that the operability pressure window becomes narrower as the fluid flow rates increase, and reveal discrepancies with theoretical predictions based on a simple Hagen–Poiseuille formulation. This is addressed by a new equation that takes into account interface curvature effects, and is found to be in qualitative agreement with the experimental results. In addition, we perform CFD simulations observing the emergence of interface breaking at high flow rates.

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