Modelling of flow pattern transitions in small diameter horizontal and inclined tubes

Neima Brauner, Amos Ullmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Flow pattern maps in adiabatic mini and micro tubes in gas–liquid and liquid–liquid systems are discussed, emphasizing the phenomena that characterize two-phase flows in small-scale systems. Mechanistic models developed for gas–liquid and liquid–liquid systems in conventional-size tubes, but account for the effects of the Eotvos number EoD=ΔρgD2/σ, are examined. It is shown that mechanistic models, which are applicable for a large range of EoD in conventional-size tubes, are also applicable to mini/micro tubes and yield reasonable predictions of their flow pattern maps. These mechanistic models are also used to identify the other controlling dimensionless groups (and their critical values) associated with the various flow pattern transitions. Additionally, the effect of gravity on flow pattern transitions in mini-tubes is addressed in an attempt to identify the conditions where the pipe inclination should still be considered. Indeed, it is found that the tube inclination has a significant effect on the flow pattern transitions for EoD > 1, even in small diameter and capillary tubes. It is shown that EoD ∼ 1 can be considered as a characteristic threshold value, below which bubble/drop length scales become constrained by the tube diameter (<2.5 mm for air–water, <1mm for refrigerants), hence the features of low EoD systems (i.e., mini/micro tubes) are manifested in the flow pattern map. Finally, the conditions under which counter-current flow can still be considered feasible are also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110965
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • Flow pattern maps
  • Gas–liquid
  • Inclination effect
  • Microchannels
  • Mini-tubes
  • Two-phase flow

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Modelling of flow pattern transitions in small diameter horizontal and inclined tubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this