Fluid Dynamics

Oil and Gas

The oil industry depends heavily on fluid dynamics at all stages of project development.   Many of the rocks that form reservoirs are formed by fluid dynamic processes (wind, river, and oceanic flows that carry and deposit sediment), and prediction of where reservoirs might be located and what their properties may be depends on an understanding of these processes.  Wells, rigs and pipelines must be sited so as to safeguard against geohazards such as submarine gravity currents.   Production of oil and gas requires and understanding of fluid flow through the porous medium of the reservoir rock to the well bore.   Understanding of fluid flow during both drilling of wells and during production is essential to ensure safe operations, guarding against the risk of blowouts, and to ensure the integrity of infrastructure is maintained during its working life.   Research into the fluid dynamics in each of these application areas is ongoing at Leeds, linked to facilities (listing required here) and to centres of training excellence (CDT in FD mentioned here), with development of new fundamental understanding feeding directly into application.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics tackles fundamental and applied problems providing students from a wide range of academic backgrounds with the opportunity to undertake cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research.

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Fluid dynamics plays a critical role in corrosion processes, particularly in the context of mass-transfer controlled electrochemical reactions (as in the case with low pH CO2-containing environments in the oil and gas industry). In complex pipe geometries or fittings, the difference in local mass-transfer characteristics can result in markedly different corrosion rates being observed over short distances. However, the local variations in mass-transfer are difficult to determine in such scenarios, making the location of severe corrosion and the associated dissolution rate challenging to accurately quantify.

Recent research at Leeds has focused on utilising computational methods to resolve the viscous sub-layer in complex flows to facilitate the prediction of local mass-transfer rates. These mass-transfer coefficients are then integrated into a mechanistic CO2 corrosion model developed at Leeds to map corrosion rates onto the internal geometry. Such methods enable prediction of corrosion magnitude across the entire internal surface.

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