Splitter Erosion, Natural Gas Impurity in Pipeline, ANSYS Fluent DPM

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In this study, using the DPM (Discrete phase material) method, the effect of impurities in the working fluid on the splitter erosion was investigated.

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Splitter Introduction

A splitter is a device for uniformly distributing incoming fluid flow through the placement of outlets of the same shape and size. Using Splitter, in addition to evenly dividing the initial flow rate, can absorb the impurities in it with filter and increase the purity of the outlet gas. The impact of impurities such as sand and oxides of various metals can lead to erosion over time on the body of various equipment. Therefore, studying the effect of erosion on transmission pipeline and fluid flow distribution will be of particular importance.

Problem Description

In this study, using the DPM (Discrete phase material) method, the effect of impurities in the working fluid on the body gas splitter was investigated. The impurity gas entered at a speed of 5 meters per second vertically, and was directed out through 3 outlets. Using Ansys Fluent software, the impurity distribution, concentration, adsorption, and reflection in the installed filters were observed. Different erosion models in the software help correctly predict the erosion effect according to different working conditions.


Splitter Geometry & Mesh

The designed geometry specifications include a gas splitter with three nozzles at the outlet. The inlet diameter of the mainstream is 1.6 cm, and the outlet nozzles’ diameter is 0.3 cm. In addition, 2.5 cm long fins are located inside the geometry as a filter (Figure below).


For grid generation, unstructured mesh with 2728426 elements in the ANSYS Meshing module was utilized. Curvature and proximity Method was used to focus on grid sensitive areas like close to fins. Also, the boundary layer mesh next to the walls was used to satisfy the turbulence model Y+.  The following figure shows the mesh generation for this problem.


Solver Setting

Fluent software was used to solve the governing equations numerically. The problem is analyzed steady using the pressure-based method, and the gravitational effects were not considered. Also, for solving the above problem, RANS Includes discrete phase particles by integrating the force balance on the particles, which is written in a Lagrangian reference frame. This force balance equates the particle inertia with the forces acting on the particle.

Material Properties

Due to the high-speed internal flow in the computational domain, the natural gas density was assumed to be constant and thermodynamic characteristics such as viscosity and thermal conductivity of gas and impurity density were set.

Boundary conditions and Solution methods

Also, The table below shows the characteristics and values of boundary conditions, along with the models and hypotheses.

Material Properties (Erosion)
Natural gas
Amount Fluid properties
0.65 Density (kg/m3)
0.00013 Viscosity (kg/m.s)
Inert-particle (impurities)
Amount Fluid properties
1600 Density (kg/m3)
Discrete phase model (DPM)
Interaction with continuous phase (Erosion) 10 continues phase iteration per DPM
Max step trackind 50000
Step length factor 5
Physical model Erosion/Accretion

Generic model



Accuracy Control 1e-5
Max.Refinement 20
Tracking Scheme Selection: Trapezoidal
Injection type: Surface velocity inlet
Diameter Distribution: uniform
Diameter: 0.15mm
Total flow rate: 0.04627kg/s
Drag law: Spherical
Turbulent Dispersion: Stochastic Tracking

Discrete Random Walk Model

Random Eddy Lifetime

Number of Tries 10

Time Scale Constant 0.3

The number of particles tracked: 24900
The number of particles trapped: 8202
The number of particles escaped: 16695
Initialize: standard
Boundary Condition (Erosion)
Type Amount (units)
Velocity inlet 5 m/s
pressure outlet (gauge pressure) 0 pa
domain wall
Fin wall trap
External domain wall escape
Cell zone condition
Fluid Natural gas
Turbulence models (Erosion)
K-  viscous model
Reliazable K- model
Enhanced-wall treatment Wall function
Solution methods (Erosion)
SIMPLE pressure velocity coupling
Standard pressure spatial discretization
Second-order upwind momentum
First-order upwind turbulent kinetic energy
First-order upwind      turbulent dissipation rate

Splitter Results

In this section, erosion models are first examined. The generic model can be used as an analytical equation for most cases because the material of impurities in this model is sand, present in most models. In model Finnie, which, like Oka and Mclaury models, uses an empirical correlation to predict erosion, it is mainly used for malleable materials. The Collision angle and velocity are effective. The model Oka considers the effect of wall hardness and may be more suitable for investigating the erosion of transmission pipes. Model Mclaury is used to study suspended solids in water and was not suitable for the present case.

According to the above observations, by erosion contours of the splitter wall and examining the appropriate models, it was observed that in all models, the impact of particles on the upper wall due to high fluid velocity causes more erosion compared to other areas. The outlet nozzle walls are then subject to higher erosion. Oka Erosion diagrams have also been monitored during solution solving to investigate the convergence of the problem better.


Examination of the contour of the impurity concentration shows that in the output part of the Splitter, due to the high velocity of the downstream flow and the reduction of cross-section, the exit of solid particles were challenging, and the accumulation of particles in that part causes the concentration of impurities to increase. However, due to the placement of filtered fins, this can increase the adsorption of impurity particles, which can be seen in the table above by trap and escape particle track.

A Mesh file and a comprehensive Training Movie present how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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