Evolution of droplets in subsea oil and gas blowouts: Development and validation of the numerical model VDROP-J

Lin Zhao, Michel C. Boufadel, Scott A. Socolofsky, Eric Adams, Thomas King, Kenneth Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

The droplet size distribution of dispersed phase (oil and/or gas) in submerged buoyant jets was addressed in this work using a numerical model, VDROP-J. A brief literature review on jets and plumes allows the development of average equations for the change of jet velocity, dilution, and mixing energy as function of distance from the orifice. The model VDROP-J was then calibrated to jets emanating from orifices ranging in diameter, D, from 0.5mm to 0.12m, and in cross-section average jet velocity at the orifice ranging from 1.5m/s to 27m/s. The d50/D obtained from the model (where d50 is the volume median diameter of droplets) correlated very well with data, with an R2=0.99. Finally, the VDROP-J model was used to predict the droplet size distribution from Deepwater Horizon blowouts. The droplet size distribution from the blowout is of great importance to the fate and transport of the spilled oil in marine environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-69
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

Keywords

  • Dispersant
  • Droplet size distribution
  • Jets and plumes
  • Oil deep spill
  • Oil droplets
  • Oil fate and transport

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