ABSTRACT Environmental agencies do not allow effluents, from the petroleum productions, which contain oil concentrations that exceed the amounts permitted by the regulations. In recent time heavy oil operating petroleum industries are generating oil/water mixture by products, which are difficult to separate. Industrially, hydrocyclone is generally used to separate oil from an oil/water mixture. This is due to its high performance of separation, low cost of installation and maintenance. In the present work, therefore, the thermal fluid dynamics of water/ultra-viscous heavy oil separation process in a hydrocyclone has been studied. A steady state mathematical model which simulates the performance of a non-isothermal separation process is presented. The Eulerian-Eulerian approach for the interface of the phases involved (water/ultra-viscous heavy-oil) is used and the two-phase flow is considered as incompressible, viscous and turbulent. For carrying out numerical solutions of the governing equations the CFX11® commercial code was used. Results of the behavior of the two-fluid flow inside the hydrocyclone and separation efficiency are presented and analyzed. The role of the average temperature of the fluid, oil droplet diameter and the fluid mixture inlet velocity on the separation efficiency of the hydrocyclone are verified.
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