This paper describes an experimental and numerical investigation of the two-phase water-air flow at the inlet of an electrical submersible pump (ESP). The main goal was to find a means of directly monitoring pump operation to avoid the onset of surging. The particular geometry at the ESP inlet comprises an annular space with a rotating shaft; 3D simulations of the two-phase flow were made using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Ultrasonic data were then obtained and compared with the numerical simulations. The transit time of the acoustic wave is a likely parameter to monitor pump operation in real applications.

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