UBC Faculty Research and Publications

SlurryNet: Predicting Critical Velocities and Frictional Pressure Drops in Oilfield Suspension Flows Sarraf Shirazi, Alireza; Frigaard, Ian


Improving the accuracy of the slurry flow predictions in different operating flow regimes remains a major focus for multiphase flow research, and it is especially targeted at industrial applications such as oil and gas. In this paper we develop a robust integrated method consisting of an artificial neural network (ANN) and support vector regression (SVR) to estimate the critical velocity, the slurry flow regime change, and ultimately, the frictional pressure drop for a solid–liquid slurry flow in a horizontal pipe, covering wide ranges of flow and geometrical parameters. Three distinct datasets were used to develop machine learning models with totals of 100, 325, and 125 data points for critical velocity, and frictional pressure drops for heterogeneous and bed-load regimes respectively. For each dataset, 80% of the data were used for training and the rest 20% for evaluating the out of sample performance. The K-fold technique was used for cross-validation. The prediction results of the developed integrated method showed that it significantly outperforms the widely used existing correlations and models in the literature. Additionally, the proposed integrated method with the average absolute relative error (AARE) of 0.084 outperformed the model developed without regime classification with the AARE of 0.155. The proposed integrated model not only offers reliable predictions over a wide range of operating conditions and different flow regimes for the first time, but also introduces a general framework of how to utilize prior physical knowledge to achieve more reliable performances from machine learning methods.

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