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Sept 23, 1969

SZE-FOO CHIEN

3,468,158

METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR DETERMINING RHEOLOGICAL

PROPERTIES OF NON'NEWTONIAN FLUIDS SUCH AS


DRILLING FLUIDS OR THE LIKE

Filed March 26, 1968

T1 1
p}

United States Patent 0 lC

3,468,158
Patented Sept. 23, 1969

3,468,158

and plastic viscosity of Bing-ham type ?uids and the two


constants for power law ?uids by means of the relation
ships expressed by the formulas as derived below. These

METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR DETERMIN


ING RHEOLOGICAL PROPERTIES OF NON-NEW
TONIAN FLUIDS SUCH AS DRILLING FLUIDS
OR THE LIKE

formulas are correct only for laminar ?ow of the Bing


ham type ?uids and consequently the present method

and apparatus are limited to laminar flow conditions


therefor. This is not a serious limitation in actual practice.
Continuation-impart of application Ser. No. 481,195,
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
Aug. 20, 1965. This application Mar. 26, 1968, Ser.
No. 716,202
The
principles of the method and the apparatus of
10
Int. Cl. Gtlln 11/04
this
invention
will be described more in detail herein
US. CI. 73-55
19 Claims

Sze-Foo Chieu, Houston, Tex., assignor to Texaco Inc.,


New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware

after with reference to the accompanying drawings,

wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic view showing an embodiment of

ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE

15 my apparatus, wherein two tubes of different diameters

A method and apparatus for determining the yield


stress and plastic viscosity of a non-Newtonian ?uid
which consists of pumping the ?uid through a tube of
known diameter at a known ?ow rate and measuring the

pressure drop for a given length. The procedure is then


repeated for a different set of conditions and the yield
stress and plastic viscosity are calculated from formulas
for laminar ?ow. Similar measurements are used to ob

are connected in series with one another, and a single

pump is employed;
FIG. 1a is a partial schematic view of another embodi
ment of the apparatus of FIG. 1, showing the two tubes
of different diameters leaving in parallel from a com
mon source, involving two pumps of equal capacity;
FIG. 1b is another partial schematic view of another
embodiment showing two tubes of the same diameter
leaving from a common source, involving pumps having

tain the two constants characterizing the rheological


25 different capacities;
properties of power law ?uids.

CROSS REFERENCE
This is a continuation-in-part application of my appli

FIG. 10 shows a tube of constant diameter wherein


?ow is controlled by a variable pump; and
FIG. 2 is a schematic view of another modi?cation of
my apparatus, wherein two tubes of different diameters
are connected in parallel into a common source, and

wherein separate pumps are employed to pump ?uid


through each of the tubes.
1965 now abandoned.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
EMBODIMENTS
35
The present invention relates to a method and appa
The
formulas
which
relate the known and the meas
ratus for determining both the yield stress and the plastic

cation for patent, Ser. No. 481,195, ?led on Aug. 20,

viscosity of Bingham type ?uids, such as drilling muds,


slurries, greases, and other plastic ?uids, such as tomato
sauce, mayonnaise, catsup, toothpaste, ice cream, and
batters for cookies and cakes, as well as for determining
the two constants characterizing the rheological proper
ties of power law ?uids such as suspensions of paper
pulp or pigments and starch or mica suspensions in water.

ured quantities with the yield stress and plastic viscosity


of Bingham type ?uids are derived as follows.

Theory
In general, a non-Newtonian ?uid has the character
istic that, in laminar ?ow, the rate of shear (dv/dr) is a
function <1) of the shear stress 1', Le.

There are now available laboratory instruments for


measuring the yield stress and the plastic viscosity of 45

plastic ?uids, but these instruments are neither accurate


nor foolproof when the plastic ?uid contains minute par
ticles of material other than the initial suspended minute

v=velocity

r=radical distance
particles. For example, in drilling muds, lost circulation 50 In the case of the Bingham type ?uids, the function
at becomes
material and chips from rock formations interfere with

measurements. Likewise, fragments of nuts or fruits in


(2)
ice cream and in batters pose problems. Moreover, the
known instruments do not permit these properties to be
measured continuously during an operation such as the 55
where:
drilling of an oil well.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


In accordance with the present invention, there are

provided novel methods for determining both the yield


stress and plastic viscosity of Bingham type ?uids, which

(r)=gn5(1- Ty) for a- greater then 1;,


=0

for 'rless than T,

gc is the gravitational conversion factor,


1; is the coe?icient of rigidity,
a-y is the yield stress of the ?uid.
Considering ?ow in a circular pipe, a balance of forces

glves
involves pumping the plastic ?uid to be tested through a
(3)
tube of known diameter at a known ?ow rate, measuring
where:
the pressure drop, dP1, along a known length of the tube,
L1, and determining the pressure drop per unit of length, 65 r is the radial distance,
D is the diameter of the pipe,
dP1/L1, repeating the pressure drop measurement at a
7w is the shear stress at the pipe wall.
different set of conditions involving either the tube diam

eter and/or flow rate, and the same or di?erent length

Combining Equations 1, 2 and 3, the velocity, and hence


L2 over which the pressure drop, a'P2, is measured, and
the volume ?ow rate, Q, can be obtained by integration.
determining the pressure drop per unit of length, dP2/L2, 70
and determining from the known dimensions and quan
tities and the measured pressure drops, the yield stress

3,468,158

Using the de?nition of wall shear, and for ?ows where


the yield stress is small compared with wall shear, Equa
tion 4 is approximated by:

(5)

one can use one pipe and make these two observations, at

dilferent flow rates in sequence, as in FIG. 1c, where the


?uid is homogeneous and its characteristics do not vary
with time. In this method, Equations 7 and 8 reduce to

=1 D390 D $1113 4
32

17

,4.

ing dP1/L1 and dP2/L2, which are obtained. Alternatively,

[4 L a TY

Constant Diameter Equations

where dP is the pressure drop along a length L of the


pipe. Equation 5 contains the two unknowns, 17 and TY.
Consequently, in order to determine the value of these un
knowns, it is necessary to have two independent equa
tions. This can be done by making observations at two
different sets of working conditions, substituting values in
If proper electric analog circuitries are devised for
Equation 5, and then solving for the two unknowns.
Equations 7 and 8, n and 'ry could be registered with elec
We thus obtain:
15 tric signals of dPl and dP2.
In contrast to a Bingham type ?uid, characterized by

yield stress and plastic viscosity, and whose relationship


between the shear stress and rate of shear deformation is
20

Solving these equations for 17 and 'ry, we get General

Equations

a straight-line on a linear plotting, a power law ?uid

shows a straight line relationship between the shear stress


and the rate of shear deformation on log-log plotting.
A power low ?uid is a class of ?uid whose ?ow be
havior can be described (by formula) as

25

where :

30 r=shear stress

One preferred method of making observations involves


letting the same ?ow, Q1'=Q2=Q, occur in both pipes; e.g.
the pipes might be connected in series, as in FIG. 1, or

dv/dr=rate of shear
with:

in parallel, as in FIG. 1a, and the same ?ow, Q, occurs in

v=velocity and

both pipes. In this method, Equations 7 and 8 reduce to


Constant Flow Equations:

r: radial distance

and K and n are two constants characterizing the rheologi

cal properties of the ?uid.


For ?uid flow in a pipe, 2. balance of force results, so
that

(10)
Equations 7a and 8a are simpli?ed greatly when the
values for D1, D2, Q, L1 and L2 are constants, which make
it possible to calculate values by substitution in the equa

_r A12
_2 AL

where Ap/AL is the pressure drop in distance AL and r


is a radial distance.

tions as follows:

Equating the last two equations, the rate of shear de


formation becomes:
50

11

( )

@__(L
dr_
2K Q
AL 5

Integration of Equation 11, with the condition that


r=D/2, v=0 (i.e. the velocity at the wall of the pipe is
55 zero), the velocity distribution can be obtained.

(12)
_1
v:

n+1

n+1

_L_A_p)n(
n >[(_D_)n___
2K AL
n+1
2
rT

where D is the diameter of the pipe.


By integration of the velocity distribution across the
pipe cross-sectional area, the volume ?ow rate Q is ob

tained, viz.,
13

( )
70

Another preferred method of making observations in


volves keeping the pipe sizes the same in both sets of ob
servations. This can be accomplished by pumping at dif

3n+1

Q: .L?)(
n )(2>T
2K AL
3n+l
2

This last equation is basic for the use of the disclosed


apparatus under either constant or variable ?ow condi
tions for a power law ?uid. Fluid is pumped at a con

stant volume flow rate through two pipes of different diam

ferent ?ow rates, Q1 and Q2, through two pipes of equal


eters, the pipes being either in series or in parallel as in
diameter, D, as in FIG. 1b and observing the correspond 75 FIGS. 1 and 1a.

3,468,158
From Equation 13, the ?ow in the pipe with diameter
D1 may be written as
1

Q 1*"
_ <Q>T
2

) (.Lfi
2K AL1 i

3n+1

and the ?ow through the pipe with diameter D2


1:)

8n+1

2)
3n+1 weer
2K AL,
Q-P ewe

and plastics viscosity of Bingham type ?uids.

Since Q1=Q2, the two equations can be combined to give


the Constant Flow Equation.

<14)

95h
L32
AP1_ Jayne
D2
AL)

Referring to FIG. 1, a plastic ?uid such as a drilling


mud enters through a line 11 into a pump 12 contain
ing a piston 13 actuated in a manner to pump ?uid through
15

The disclosed apparatus can be designed such that

Q=A1h
D2 ALg
and thus the Equation 14 could be further simpli?ed

<15)

a ?rst length of tube 17, of relatively large diameter D1


and then in series through a second length of tube, 19,
of relatively smaller diameter D2. The pump 12 is so
designed and operated as to cause the plastic ?uid to ?ow

at a constant volume ?ow rate and within the range of


20 laminar ?ow.

It is evident that the sizes of tubes 17 and 19 can be


reversed so that the ?uid ?rst passes through .a tube of

m:
21)
A111 D2

or

where AL is the distance between pressure taps and Apl


and Apz are the pressure drops corresponding to ?ow
rates Q1 and Q2.
Thus, the two rheological characteristic constants of
power law ?uids can be determined readily from the pres
sure drop data for variable ?ows.
Again, it proper electric analog circuitries are devised
for Equations 14 and 17, n and K could be registered
with electric signals of p1 and p2. Alternatively, nomo
10 graphs could be used, also to solve for the yield stress

smaller diameter and then through one of larger diam


eter. Also, other types of constant ?ow pumps may be
25 used, e.g. a screw type pump.

The pressure drops across the two lengths of the tubes,

A112: An

L1 for tube 17, and L2 for tube 19, are continuously


measured by pressure differential transducers 25, 27 hav
ing gauges 21 and 23, and from the observed values, the

Apl

where A is a constant and is equal to

D2
&>3

30 plastic viscosity 17 and the yield stress Ty are calculated

by substitution in Equations 7a and 80 above, wherein:

Equation 15a shows that the ratio Ap2/Ap1 can be used

D1=diameter of large tube 17feet


L1=selected length of large tube 17-feet
?uid.
35 D2=diameter of small tube 19-feet
Once the n has been determined, the value of the other
L2=selected length of small tube 19-feet
characteristic parameter K can be readily determined from
dP1=pressure drop across length L1-lbs. force/ft?
either one of the Equations 13a or 13b.
dP2=pressure drop across length L2lbs. force/ft.2
Take, for example, Equation 13b, and rearranging
Q=volume ?ow rate-cubic feet/ second
40 go: gravitational conversion factor
to indicate the characteristic parameter n of a power law

(16)

K=(6) (511) (Pi->311 (21in) Am

32.174 lb. mass ft.


lb. force sec.2

or

(16a)K=BAp2

45

n=plastic viscosity-lb. mass/ft. sec.

Ty=yielding point-lb. force/ft.2


In the embodiments disclosed in the remaining ?gures
of
the drawings, the plastic ?uid, such as drilling mud, is
Equation 16 shows that once It has been determined, the 50
provided from a common source, such as mud tank or
value of B and hence the value of K also can be deter
conduit 55. In FIG. 1a, pipes of different diameters, D1
mined.
Thus, the two rheological characteristics n and K of
the power law ?uid can be determined readily from the

and D2, lead off from such a common source, with pumps

providing a constant ?ow indicated at P1 in each pipe.


two pressure drop readings.
55 This embodiment is the parallel set up of the series set
up in FIG. 1.
Fluid may be pumped through pipes of diameter D at
In FIG. 1b, pipes of equal diameters, D, lead off from
different ?ow rates. It can be achieved by either using two
the common source, 55, the pipes having respective
pumps at different ?ow rates, as in FIG. lb or one pump
pumps with different flow rates indicated at P1 and P2;
capable of delivering different ?ow rates as in FIG. 10.
The operating principle involved is similar to that pre 60 while in FIG. 10, a single pipe of a constant diameter,
D, leads off from the common source, 55, with a variable
viously disclosed. The value of n can be obtained for var
drive pump, indicated as PVD, interposed therebetween,
iable ?ow conditions from
to provide a variable ?ow rate. In these three ?gures, the
tap-oils for measurement of the differential pressures are
L2:
65 shown partially.

where Q1 and Q2 are the two ?ow rates.


Once n is determined, the value of K can be obtained

from either one of the following equations:

(16b) K=(i)" (21%) (ii->3 mm

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, two streams of

plastic ?uid are taken off from a conduit 55, via a ?rst

relatively large conduit 57, of diameter D1, and a second

relatively smaller conduit 59, of diameter D2, arranged


70 in parallel therewith.
Pumps 61 and 63 are operated to pump plastic ?uid
through the conduits 57 and 59 with laminar ?ow, and
the pressure drops across lengths L1 and L2 of the tubes
are measured by differential pressure measuring trans
75 ducers 65 and 67.

3,468,158
8

I claim:
1. A method for determining the coe?icient of rigidity
of a non-Newtonian plastic ?uid comprising:
(a) passing said ?uid in laminar ?ow through a tube

12. Apparatus in accordance with claim 11 wherein


said ?rst and second tubes are connected in series with
one another, and wherein said pumping means is a single

pump for pumping said plastic ?uid through said tubes

successively.

of known diameter at a known volumetric ?ow rate,

(b) measuring under these ?rst conditions; the pres

13'. Apparatus in accordance with claim 11 wherein


said ?rst and second tubes are arranged in parallel and

sure drop across a known length of said tube and

determining the pressure drop per unit of length,

separately connected to a common source of said plastic

dPl/Ll,

?uid; and

(c) repeating measuring of the pressure drop under

1O

second conditions developing a di?erent pressure

drop per unit of length, dP2/L2,


(d) and determining said coef?cient of rigidity in ac
cordance with the equation that

wherein said pumping means comprises separate pumps


for pumping said plastic ?uid through said ?rst and
second tubes.
14. A method for determining the yield stress of a

plastic ?uid comprising:


15

(a) passing said ?uid in laminar ?ow through a tube


of known diameter at a known volumetric ?ow rate,
(b) measuring the pressure drop across a known
length of said tube and determining the pressure

when :

drop per unit of length, dP1/L1.


(c) repeating measuring of the pressure drop under

a1=coe?icient of rigidity (or viscosity)


gc=gravitational conversion factor

second conditions developing a different pressure

D1=pipe diameter for the ?rst test conditions


D2=pipe diameter for the second test conditions
L1=length of pipe for the ?rst test conditions
L2=length of pipe for the second test conditions
dP1= pressure drop for the ?rst test conditions
dP2=pressure drop for the second test conditions
Q1=volume ?ow rate for the ?rst test conditions
Q2=volume ?ow rate for the second test conditions
2. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein the

drop per unit of length dP2/L2, and


(d) determining said yield stress in accordance with
the equation that

wherein :

ry=the yield stress of the ?uid

measurements of the pressure drops are taken at the same


volume ?ow rate.

3. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein


steps (b) and (c) are made in ?rst and second tubes
arranged in series, and a single pump passes said plastic 35

?uid through both of said tubes.


4. A method in accordance with claim 1, wherein said
plastic ?uid is located in a common source, and

D1=pipe diameter for the ?rst test conditions


D3=pipe diameter for the second test conditions
L1=1ength of pipe for the ?rst test conditions
L2=length of pipe for the second test conditions
dP1=pressure drop for the ?rst test conditions
dP2=pressure drop for the second test conditions
Q1=volume ?ow rate for the ?rst test conditions
Q2=volume ?ow rate for the second test conditions
15. A method for determining the characteristic pa

wherein steps (b) and (c) are taken in ?rst and sec
ond tubes separately connected to said common 40 rameter n of a power law non-Newtonian ?uid com
source in parallel with one another, and
prising:

wherein said plastic ?uid is pumped through said sepa

(a) passing said ?uid through a tube of known diame

rate tubes by separate pumps therein.


5. The method in accordance with claim 4 wherein

ter at a known volumetric ?ow rate,

said plastic ?uid is passed through both of said tubes at 45


the same volume ?ow rate.

6. The method in accordance with claim 5 wherein


tube diameters and known lengths across which pressure
drop is measured are constant for both pressure drop
measurements.

7. A method in accordance with claim 1 wherein said

lengths L1 and L2, said diameters D1 and D2, and said


volume ?ow rate are all maintained constant.

8. The method in accordance with claim 4 wherein said


?rst and second tubes have different diameters, and
wherein said plastic ?uid is pumped at the same ?ow rate

through both tubes.

50

(b) measuring the pressure drop (AP1) across a known


length (AL1) of said tube in a ?rst test section;
(c) repeating measuring of the pressure drop across
another known length (AL2) of said tube in a sec
ond test section; under conditions developing a dif

ferent pressure drop (APZ),


(d) and determining said parameter I: in accordance

the equatiOn

1) ( AL]. )

AP1_ D2

Wheie:
L1=tube length at the ?rst test section
L2=tube length at the second test section
P1=pressure drop at the ?rst test section
P2=pressure drop at the second test section

9. The method in accordance with claim 4 wherein


said ?rst and second tubes have the same diameter, and
wherein said plastic ?uid is pumped at di?erent ?ow rates 60
D1=tube diameter at the ?rst test section
in said tubes.
D2=tube diameter at the second test section
10. The method in accordance with claim 1 wherein
16. The method in accordance with claim 15 wherein
said measurements are made in a single tube, said plastic
steps (b) and (c) are made in ?rst and second tubes ar
?uid being passed through said tube in two runs at di?er
65 ranged in series, and a single pump passes said ?uid
ent ?ow rates.
through both of said tubes.
11. Apparatus for determining both plastic viscosity
-17. A method in accordance with claim 15 wherein
and yielding stress of a plastic ?uid comprising:
said ?uid is located in a common source, and
a ?rst tube of relatively large diameter;
wherein steps (b) and (c) are taken in ?rst and second
a second tube of relatively smaller diameter;
tubes separately connected to said common source
means for pumping plastic ?uid through both of said
in parallel with one another, and
tubes at the same volume ?ow rate;
wherein said ?uid is pumped through said separate
means for measuring pressure drop across a length of

said ?rst tube; and


means for measuring simultaneously the pressure drop
across a length of said second tube. .

tubes by separate pumps therein.


18. A method in accordance with claim 15 wherein
75 the ratio of said lengths L1 and L2 to each other is equal

3,468,158

to the ratio of said diameters D1 and D2 to each other.


19. A method for determining the characteric parame
ter K of a power law non-Newtonian ?uid comprising:
(a) passing said ?uid through a test section of a tube
of known diameter at a known volumetric ?ow rate, 5

(b) measuring the pressure drop across a known length


of said tube, and
(c) determining said parameter K in accordance with

the equation
1

lee)" 0:11) e) 0211-) AP


where:
D=tube diameter of test section

10
AL=tube length of test section

AP =pressure drop at test section


Q=\volume ?ow rate at test section

References Cited
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,700,891 2/ 1955 Shafer _____________ __
2,934,944 5/1960 Eolkin _____________ __
3,024,643 3/1962 Jones ______________ __.
3,116,630 1/ 1964 Piros ______________ __
3,302,451 2/1967 Martin _____________ __

LOUIS R. PRINCE, Primary Examiner


15 I. W. ROSKOS, Assistant Examiner

73-55

73-55
7355

7355

73-55

mg?

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE

CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION
Patent No.

3,1468: 158

Dated

Inventor(s)

Sze-FOO Chien

September 23, 1969

It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent


and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

'-

In the specification, Column 2, lines it and 5, cancel "of

the Bingham type fluids"; line 7, cancel "therefor and insert

-for Bingham type and power law fluids--; line 118, "radical"
should be --radial--; line 71, the portion of equation (11)

reading

1;

l7

should

1(7

3
--

read

Column 3, line 55, in the equation for K1, the numerator readin

D1 1

II" L1

should read

D1(l

II I31

Column 3, lines 55 to 64 inclusive, in the equations for the


values of K1 and K2, the parenthetical multiplier which reads,
in each instance in the denominator

(.1;D2 3 _ 2:?
D1

should read

D2 " D1

Column 3, lines 65 to 69 inclusive, in the equation for the


values of K3 and K, the parenthetical multiplier which reads

D2 D1

should read

D2 D1

Column 8, line 26, that portion of the equation reading

"7y"

|_

should read
srcmzn m0
swan

--7-.

JUL 141979
$EAL)
Atteat:
Edward M. Fletcher, Ir.

inciting Officer

"III-LIAM E- SQHUYLm

JR

w?missionar of Patents