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Additional recommended knowledge
Historically, probably the most commonly-studied cases of two-phase flow are in large-scale power systems. Coal and gas-fired power stations used very large boilers to produce steam for use in turbines. In such cases, pressurised water is passed through heated pipes and it changes to steam as it moves through the pipe. The design of boilers requires a detailed understanding of two-phase flow heat-transfer and pressure drop behaviour, which is significantly different from the single-phase case. Even more critically, nuclear reactors use water to remove heat from the reactor core using two-phase flow. A great deal of study has been performed on the nature of two-phase flow in such cases, so that engineers can design against possible failures in pipework, loss of pressure, and so on (a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA)).
Another case where two-phase flow can occur is in pump cavitation. Here a pump is operating close the vapor pressure of the fluid being pumped. If pressure drops further, which can happen locally near the vanes for the pump, for example, then a phase change can occur and gas will be present in the pump. Similar effects can also occur on marine propellors; wherever it occurs, it is a serious problem for designers. When the vapor bubble collapses, it can produce very large pressure spikes, which over time will cause damage on the propellor or turbine.
The above two-phase flow cases are for a single fluid occurring by itself as two different phases, such as steam and water. The term 'two-phase flow' is also applied to mixtures of different fluids having different phases, such as air and water, or oil and natural gas. Sometimes even three-phase flow is considered, such as in oil and gas pipelines where there might be a significant fraction of solids.
Other examples of two-phase flow include bubbles, rain, waves on the sea, foam, fountains, mousse, and oil slicks.
Several features make two-phase flow an interesting and challenging branch of fluid mechanics:
Two-phase flow is a particular example of multiphase flow.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Two-phase_flow". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|