Numerical investigation of coalescing plate system to understand the separation of water and oil in water treatment plant of petroleum industry

Yayla S., Ibrahim S. S. , OLCAY A. B.

ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS OF COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS, vol.11, no.1, pp.184-192, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19942060.2016.1273137
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.184-192
  • Keywords: CFD, two-phase flow, oil-water separation efficiency, coalescing plate, laminar flow, FLOW, SIMULATION, CFD, EMULSIONS, LIQUID
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


The most widely utilized process of produced water treatment is considered to be use of coalescing or corrugated plate systems in the oil industry because these systems have promising results in the acceleration of the separation process. Even use of corrugated plate systems seem to be effective in separation processes, the geometrical parameters of the plate system could greatly influence the performance of separation process. In this study, a two-dimensional computational fluid dynamics model for coalescing plates was developed to investigate Reynolds number and plate hole shape on separation efficiency. Spacing between plates was set to 12 mm while fluid mixture's Reynolds number varied between 5 and 45 for the computational model. Hole profile and dimensions were determined to be cylindrical, rectangular and ellipse shapes as 10, 15 and 20 mm based on hydraulic diameter definition, respectively. Furthermore, when hole profiles of coalescing plates were chosen to be ellipse and rectangular shapes, separation efficiency nearly stayed constant regardless of hole dimension. The study also reported that change of oil fraction from 5% to 15% caused approximately 30% increase in the separation efficiency. The investigation also revealed Reynolds number of the mixture was inversely proportional to the separation efficiency. It was also found that the highest separation efficiency was obtained for a cylindrical shape with a hole diameter of 15 mm when distance between plates was 12 mm and Reynolds number was 18.