Particle & Particle Systems Characterization, Vol.20, No.3, 219-230, 2003
Bubble velocity and size measurement with a four-point optical fiber probe
The possibility to measure the velocity and size of individual bubbles in a high-void fraction bubbly flow is investigated by using a four-point optical fiber probe. The air bubbles have an initial spherical equivalent diameter ranging from 4 to 10 mm and the void fraction is up to 0.3. Firstly, single bubble experiments show that intrusiveness effects, i.e. bubble deformations due to the probe, are negligible provided that the bubble approaches the probe at the axis of the central fiber. A selection criterion is utilized for multiple bubble experiments. A good compromise can be found between the required accuracy, the duration of the measurements and the number of validated bubbles required for reliable statistical averaging. In an air-water high-void fraction vertical bubbly pipe flow, the void fraction obtained with the instrument is found to be in good agreement with both local single-fiber probe measurements, and with the volume average void fraction obtained from pressure gradient measurements. The area average volumetric gas flow rate, based on the bubble velocity and void fraction as measured with the four-point probe, agree with the measured gas flow rate. Also, the liquid velocity is measured by means of a laser-Doppler anemometer, to investigate the slip velocity. The results show that reliable and interesting measurements can be obtained by using a four-point optical fiber probe in high void fraction flows.