Bubble size in coalescence dominant regime of turbulent air-water flow through horizontal pipes

M. Mahbubur Razzaque, Artin Afacan, Shijie Liu, K. Nandakumar, Jacob H. Masliyah*, R. Sean Sanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


An experimental study was performed in a 25.4 mm ID pipeline to evaluate the development of the bubble size distribution in the horizontal flow of an air-water system. As the air stream enters into the flowing water stream through a T-injector, it breaks into bubbles with a log-normal size distribution. Because of the small water velocity (1-3 m/s) and small initial bubble size, coalescence, not breakage, plays the dominant role in the present study. The effects of average water velocity, air volume fraction and air injector diameter on the initial bubble size distribution and its evolution along the length of the pipe in the coalescence dominant regime are investigated.At larger water velocities, the log-normal bubble size distributions are also maintained downstream of the injector. At smaller velocities, the distributions deviate slightly from the log-normal pattern. For all distributions, the value of the ratio d99.8/d32 is about 2.2 and is fairly independent of average water velocity, pipe length, air volume fraction and air injector diameter. It is found that at large velocities of water, the prediction of dmax through Levich's breakup theory agrees well with the experimental d99.8 values for air volume fraction up to 0.003.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1471
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Air-water pipe flow
  • Bubble breakup
  • Bubble coalescence
  • Bubble size distribution
  • Coalescence dominant regime
  • Dispersed bubbly flow
  • Two-phase horizontal flow


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