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CFD Simulation of the Influence of Viscosity on an Electrical Submersible Pump
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Electrical Submersible Pump (ESP) is a multi-stage centrifugal pump used in the petroleum industry. Due to the high efficiency and adaptivity, ESPs are widely employed in offshore oil wells. Viscous fluid pumping can result in degradation of ESP performance. Improving the efficiency and maintaining the performance of ESPs are of great significance to oil production economic benefit. To better understand the influence of viscosity on electrical submersible pumps, this work uses a CFD method to study the flow behaviors inside ESPs. Commercial software ANSYS Fluent is adopted to simulate the flow field inside the pump. A single stage of an ESP WJE-1000, manufactured by Baker Hughes Ltd., is modelled and investigated. 3-D single phase flow numerical simulation is performed to study the pump performance. Several sets of fluids of different viscosities and densities are tested under various operation conditions. A wide range of inlet flow rates are calculated for every set of fluids. The effects of viscosity on ESP performance is identified and studied thoroughly. The flow field inside the pump channels is explored by post processing software. To understand how pump performance changes under different testing conditions, dimensionless analysis is performed. Shaft power, hydraulic power and drag power are discussed and calculated by dimensionless numbers.
Yin, Wenjie (2016). CFD Simulation of the Influence of Viscosity on an Electrical Submersible Pump. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from