This study provides a qualitatively visual observation of the two-phase flow patterns for air-water mixtures inside 6.9, 4.95, and 3 mm smooth diameter tubes with the presence of horizontal return bend. The influence of the return bend on the two-phase flow patterns are investigated. For D = 6.9 mm and at a mass flux of 50 kg m-2 s-1 having a quality less than 0.1, no influence on the flow patterns is seen at a larger curvature ratio of 7.1. However, were the curvature ratio reduced to 3, the flow pattern in the recovery region is temporarily turned from stratified flow into annular flow. The temporary flow pattern transition phenomenon from stratified flow to annular flow is not so pronounced with the decrease of tube diameter. It is likely that this phenomenon is related to the influence of surface tension and the reduction of developing length of the swirl flow. Based on the present flow visualization, three flow pattern maps are proposed to describe the effect of return bend on the transition of two-phase flow pattern.
- Return bend
- Two-phase flow pattern