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Drag Reduction Characteristics of Solutions of Macromolecules

In Turbulent Pipe Flow


J. G. SAViNS
MEMBER AIME

ABSTRACT
Certain t y p e s of macromolecules a d d e d to water
a n d s a l t s o l u t i o n s flowing in turbulent motion can
reduce t h e pressure gradient. Alternatively, the
volumetric c a p a c i t y of a pipe for t h e s e f l u i d s is
i n c r e a s e d by t h e p r e s e n c e of t h e s e materials.
Examples p r e s e n t e d s h o w that the drag reduction
c a n become significant. Thus, t h e p r e s e n c e of
0.28 p e r c e n t of a gum derivative in a solution of
sodium chloride flowing a t 200 gal/min in a 1.89in. pipe y i e l d s a p r e s s u r e drop which is 0.44 of
t h e single-phase drop measured under t h e s a m e
conditions of turbulent flow; t h e addition of 0.1
p e r c e n t of a vinyl derivative t o a 1-in. w a t e r l i n e
y i e l d s a throughput c a p a c i t y zohich is 1.78 of t h e
s i n g l e p h a s e c a p a c i t y a t t h e same pressure drop.
It is further shown that t h e s e phenomena a r e
d i s t i n c t l y different from previous observations
with other c l a s s e s of non-Nezutonian systems.
There a simple lowering of friction f a c t o r s below
the l e v e l s predicted from t h e r e s i s t a n c e l a w s for
Newtonian f l u i d s is a s s o c i a t e d with a s u p p r e s s i o n
of turbulent motion. A rational p h y s i c a l explanation
f o r drag reduction is advanced. Briefly, the
proposed mechanism is a s t o r a g e by t h e molecular
e l a s t i c elements of the macromolecules i n solution
of t h e k i n e t i c energy of the turbulent motion.

INTRODUCTION
T h i s study w a s inspired by a recent review of
some paradoxical drag reduction phenomena in
turbulent pipe f1ow.l Under very moderate conditions
of turbulent flow, t h e pressure gradient n e c e s s a r y
to pump solutions containing certain s p e c i f i c
kinds of polymers, fibers and metallic s o a p s may
become appreciably lower than that required* to
pump t h e solvent, i.e., water or a low-viscosity
hydrocarbon, under identical flow r a t e s in the same
conduit. A s shown b y our review, t h i s phenomenon
of drag reduction in turbulent duct flow w a s first
noted during t h e second world war, apparently
Original manuscript received in Society of Petroleum
Engineers office Feb. 10, 1964. Revised manuskript received
June 17, 1964. Paper presented at meeting of AIChE in
Houston, Tex., Dec. 5 , 1963.
l ~ e f e r e n c e sgiven at end of paper.

SPE 867

SEPTEMBER, 1964

SOCONY MOBlL O I L CO., INC.


DALLAS. TEX.

arising in connection with t h e development of flame


warfare weapons. S i n c e t h a t time s e v e r a l papers
illustrating t h i s phenomenon h a v e appeared: Toms,2
~ l d r o ~Agoston
d , ~
e t al., Bundrant and h i a t t h e ~ s , ~
Robertson and aso on,^ Ousterhout and
all,^
Daily and B ~ ~ l i a r e l l oLummus,
,~
Anderson, and
Fox. 9 T h a t there a r e p r a c t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n s for
techniques which i n c r e a s e d i s c h a r g e o r d e c r e a s e
the p r e s s u r e n e c e s s a r y to transport a liquid
through a pipeline i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n t h e p a t e n t s
which have i s s u e d which t a k e advantage of t h i s
peculiar phenomenon, e.g., ~ ~ s e l s , l ODever,
Harbour, and Seifert. l l One a l s o f i n d s fragmentary
e v i d e n c e of t h i s effect in t h e d a t a pertaining t o a
few of t h e polymeric s o l u t i o n s studied b y s h a v e r 1 2
and Dodge.13 However, t h e s e i n v e s t i g a t o r s were
concerned with t h e development of friction factor
v s Reynolds number correlations for a variety of
non-Newtonian solutions and s u s p e n s i o n s , rather
than in a study of drag reduction.
A similar kind of drag reduction e f f e c t h a s b e e n
observed in g a s e s . Sproull,14 for example, reports
that adding d u s t t o a i r flowing in turbulent motion
through a pipe r e s u l t s in a lowering of t h e p r e s s u r e
gradient a t identical flow r a t e s . T h e r e a r e a l s o
military applications for reducing t h e drag on
hydrodynamic vehicles. F o r example, t h e p o s s i b i l i t y
of injecting a rheologically complex fluid into t h e
boundary l a y e r s of b o d i e s t o reduce the s k i n
friction h a s b e e n investigated b y F a b u l a 1 5 and
Granville.16 Along somewhat different l i n e s a r e
the drag reduction s t u d i e s of ~ramer.f7118 H e
h a s shown t h a t s k i n friction c a n b e reduced b y
covering t h e surface of a v e h i c l e with a flexible
skin. T h e effect i s apparently d u e t o t h e boundary
l a y e r being s t a b i l i z e d b y the p r e s e n c e of t h e skin.
Drag reduction by m e a n s of c o e x i s t i n g g a s and
liquid boundary l a y e r s , e.g., film boiling and
continuous g a s injection, h a s b e e n proposed b y
Bradfield, Barkdoll, and Byrne,lg C e s s and
arrow,^^,^^ Sparrow, J o n s s o n , and ~ c k e r t . ~ ~
Here t h e s k i n friction o c c u r s between a vapor and
a surface rather t h a n between a liquid a n d a
surface.
There are s e v e r a l r e f e r e n c e s in t h e literature
t o friction-factor correlations for non-Newtonian
solutions and s u s p e n s i o n s : Shaver and Merri11,23
Dodge and Metzner,24 Clapp?5 and Thomas.26

In every c a s e t h e friction f a c t o r s for turbulent


flow a r e lower than t h o s e predicted a t the same
Reynolds number for Newtonian liquids using
t h e ~ i k u r a d s e 2 7 correlation. T h i s lowering of
t h e friction f a c t o r i s generally interpreted to b e
a result of t h e turbulent fluctuations being s u p p r e s s e d
b y dissolved polymer molecules or by t h e suspended
s o l i d s . We f e e l i t is n e c e s s a r y t o clearly distinguish
between t h i s type of turbulence s u p p r e s s i o n and
t h e phenomenon of drag reduction. T h a t i s ,
drag reduction i s a phenomenon which i s characterized principally b y t h e remarkable property that
t h e flow of a micromolecular fluid a t c o n s t a n t
p r e s s u r e gradient in turbulent flow is significantly
i n c r e a s e d a t moderate turbulent Reynolds numbers
b y t h e addition of certain t y p e s of macromolecules
t o t h e fluid. Consequently, t h e p r e s e n c e of t h i s
material in t h e fluid r e s u l t s in a lowering of t h e
p r e s s u r e gradient a t t h e s a m e r a t e of flow.
With t h i s concept in mind it i s c l e a r that frictionfactor correlations which appear in t h e current
literature should not b e interpreted t o imply that
d r a g reduction e f f e c t s a r e operative. Our review
paper, for example, contained some theoretical
predictions of t h e magnitude of drag reduction
which might b e e x p e c t e d in a typical pipeline
which were b a s e d on a published friction-factor
correlation for non-Newtoniarl flllids. However,
t h e s e predicted reductions r e s u l t e d from a fortuitous
combination of a s s u m e d flow properties and
~ ~
pointed out,
conditions. A s ~ u c k h a mcorrectly
t h e particular correlation u s e d w a s probably not
r e l e v a n t s i n c e i t w a s developed from measurements
on a c l a s s of materials which did not exhibit drag
reduction. T h e s e differences i n interpretation of
"turbulence suppression" and their relationship
t o published friction-factor correlations and the
phenomenon of drag reduction a r e d i s c u s s e d and
i l l u s t r a t e d with e x a m p l e s i n t h e portion of t h i s
paper d e a l i n g with t h e d i s c u s s i o n of the boundary
layer.
An objective of t h i s study w a s to verify t h e
improvements i n pumping conditions which were
predicted i n the earlier paper. T h i s required experimental determination of drag reduction i n the
fully developed turbulent flow of a variety of
chemically complex materials. T h e approach
involved t h e u s e of a pipe-flow network operated
under controlled experimental conditions. Here
drag reduction could b e evaluated quantitatively
b y direct measurement of p r e s s u r e gradients
developed under turbulent flow conditions.
Several mechanisms h a v e been proposed t o
account for drag reduction, including: (1) boundary
l a y e r thickening, (2) d e c r e a s e d frequency of
formation of v o r t i c e s a s a r e s u l t of t h e v i s c o s i t y
gradient present a c r o s s t h e flow c r o s s s e c t i o n , and
(3) v i s c o e l a s t i c i t y . A full explanation of drag
reduction h a s never b e e n proposed. Therefore, a
further objective w a s t o explore t h e three mechanisms
proposed above. T h i s a l s o involved an investigation
of t h e modes of interaction between a polymer
chain and turbulence which provide c l u e s t o t h e

mechanism of drag reduction.


EXPERIMENTAL

Materials I n v e s t i g a t e d
Six synthetic and natural polymeric materials,
representing a variety of c e l l u l o s e , vinyl and
natural gum derivatives, were investigated. T h e y
are identified a s follows: c e l l u l o s e I, c e l l u l o s e
11, vinyl I, vinyl 11, gum I and gum 11. D i s t i l l e d
water and 6 and 24 p e r cent solutions of sodium
chloride were u s e d a s solvents.
P I P E FLOW S Y S T E M

T h e pipe flow network u s e d c o n s i s t s of a n array


of uniform diameter 3 1 6 L s t a i n l e s s s t e e l t e s t
s e c t i o n s , e a c h 27 ft long. Various combinations
of tube diameters may b e i n s t a l l e d with t h i s setup.
F o r t h e s e experiments, the nominal tube s i z e s
u s e d were I-, 1.31- and 1.89-in.
Procedure

A t e s t fluid w a s prepared b y d i s p e r s i n g the


required amount of polymer in two gallons of
solvent and applying moderate heating a n d vigorous
agitation. T h i s ccilcentrated solution w a s added
to the remaining volume of solution, either into
t h e flow network directly, or into t h e mixing tank
for additional conditioning. Complete mixing w a s
a s s u r e d b y circulating t h e t e s t fluid through a l l
s e c t i o n s a t a high flow r a t e in t h e c a s e of aging
periods of a few hours, or a t a moderate flow rate
for 16 hours. Prior to t h e a c t u a l measurements,
t h e s y s t e m temperature w a s a d j u s t e d t o 85F and
t h e s y s t e m pressure adjusted to 200 p s i , d i s s o l v e d
a i r being vented through t h e accumulator and
pressure transmitters.
Following calibration c h e c k s of t h e magnetic
flow meter and differential p r e s s u e transmitters,
a l l t e s t s e c t i o n s , except t h e o n e t o b e u s e d , were
closed off. T h e t a p s were then opened and the
l i n e s flushed with distilled water. T h e flow r a t e
w a s then a d j u s t e d to t h e lowest value which
produced a measurable pressure drop and t h e flow
r a t e and pressure drop recorded. After s e v e r a l
minutes of s t e a d y flow conditions t h e flow rate
w a s r a i s e d and the recordings continued. T h e t a p
s t a t i o n s were always flushed after s i x c h a n g e s of
flow rate. Following t h e measurements in t h e three
t u b e s a duplicate run w a s a l w a y s made through t h e
I-in. tube to insure t h a t t h e rheological properties
of t h e solution had not changed during t h e experiment.
RESULTS

T h e aim of the study w a s to obtain a description


of t h e effect of various polymer t y p e s o n drag
reduction in turbulent flow. T o t h i s e n d , t h e flow
diagram, drag reduction ratio and hydraulic
c a p a c i t y diagram served a s useful guides. With
t h e s e , interactions between additive concentration,
solution type, flow r a t e , t h e tube s i z e could b e
readily distinguished.
S O C I E T Y O F PETROLEUM ENGIlVEERS J O U R N A L

The Flow Diagram


T h e flow diagram provides a useful perspective
of drag c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s over t h e complete range of
observation. Flow r a t e in gal/min i s plotted v s
the pressure gradient in psi/1,000 ft on logarithmic
s c a l e s . A s e r i e s of smooth l i n e s a r e superimposed
onto t h e a c t u a l d a t a plot. T h e s e curves represent
a v e r a g e s of t h e a c t u a l flow d a t a on t h e solvent
in e a c h t e s t section. T h e s l o p e s a r e l e s s than 45'
s i n c e only turbulent d a t a are presented. In addition,
t h e transition region for t h e solvent which l i e s to
t h e left of t h e range shown h a s b e e n omitted t o
further simplify t h e plots. In the low flow r a t e
region, the points obtained on t h e t e s t fluids will
generally f a l l t o t h e right of t h e solvent line.
E x c e p t for s c a t t e r a t t h e low flow r a t e s , t h e d a t a
are bounded on t h e left b y t h e solvent line.
In t h i s method of a n a l y s i s , t h e laminar or simple
viscometric flow region a p p e a r s a s a curve with
s l o p e of unity for a Newtonian fluid. A s l o p e
g r e a t e r than unity r e s u l t s when t h e apparent v i s c o s i t y
d e c r e a s e s with increasing s h e a r rate, k.,
e x p r e s s e d in terms of t h e power l a w model t h i s
would correspond t o n ' < 1. T h u s , laminar flow
measurements in t h e pipe flow system provided
t h e bulk of t h e viscometric d a t a , and the rheological
properties were e x p r e s s e d in terms of t h e power
l a w model parameters. Only turbulent d a t a could b e
obtained with t h e more dilute solutions. D a t a
from measurements on 19 solutions a r e summarized
in T a b l e 1.
T h e polymer type and solution environment will
determine t h e character of t h e transition region.
T h a t i s , some s o l u t i o n s exhibit a s h a r p break,
while i n a few c a s e s t h e transition region a p p e a r s
t o extend over t h e entire range of observation.
T h e o n s e t of drag reduction i s indicated b y t h e
d a t a points crossing t h e solvent line and tracking
into t h e region to t h e left of t h i s line.
A portion of t h e r e s u l t s of t h e s e measurements
a r e p r e s e n t e d i n F i g s . 1 through 4. Several f e a t u r e s
of t h e flow diagram a r e worth noting. T h e laminar
region is apparently more r e s p o n s i v e to the
concentration of additive than is the fullydeveloped
turbulent flow region. Broad transition regions are

apparent in F i g s . 1 through 3, although i t i s


difficult t o d e c i d e where t h e transition region
b e g i n s in Fig. 1 and for 0.0358 per c e n t c e l l u l o s e
I1 in Fig. 2. Note that t h e d a t a a r e initially superimposed onto t h e turbulent water line. T h i s is
followed by a gradual shift of t h e type c h a r a c t e r i s t i c
of a turbulent response. Similar r e s u l t s have b e e n
obtained with other polymers. In contrast, t h e
transition region i s very sharp in t h e d a t a on
vinyl I1 presented i n Fig. 4, but there is no
e v i d e n c e of drag reduction. With t h e exception of
the data
i n Fig. 4, t h e most s t r i k i n g
feature of t h e s e r e s u l t s is that t h e d a t a for a
given tube s i z e tend t o approach t h e flow l i n e for
t h e solvent in t h e next larger tube. T h i s e f f e c t

POLYMER CONC
a
0
0

loz

-a
CI

IK
4

0
Y
A

to'

NOTE SCUD LINES DEHOTE Y l W M E D


FLOW C W M S RXI WTER IN
INDICATED TUBE SUE

, 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

100

10
12

I5

FLOW PROPERTIES OF
POLYMER SOLUTIONS
SOLVENT

n'

0.275

24KNoCI
6%

CELLULOSE 1

0.0358
0.0716
0.143
0.286
0 0358
0.0716
0.275
0.0179
0.0716
0.1433
0.0179

0.844
1.0
0.877
0.797-0.887
0.790
0.798
0.704
0.720
0.631-0.825

0.5059
0.078
0.1787
0.4296-02192
0.3911
0 . 1929
0.5515
0.781
2.525-0945

0.860

0.3105

0 459

0.4820
6 281
19. 5 4

CELLULOSE P

0.143

2i:

dr
1

NOTES. UNITS OF K ' A R E dyne .ecn'/cmz


(01 DRAG REDUCTION PROPERTIES
(bl PURELY VISCOUS BEHAVIOR
(s) MATERIAL DEGRADES UNDER SHEAR
( 6 ) ONLY TURBULENT FLOW DATA OBTAINED

1 ,

( 1 ,

I I I L

lo2

10'

FIG. 1 - FLOW DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING PUMPING


CHARACTERISTICS O F VINYL I SOLUTIONS.
N O T E SOLID LINES DENOTE SMOOTHED FLOW CURVES
FOR WATER IN INDICATED TUBE SIZE
PWYMER CCW
Q G.OU8%
0

0286%

o 0.286%
0.286%

NBE M.
I"
I'
1.31"
1.89"

;02

WT%

CELLULOSE n
CELLULOSE I
GUM TI
GUM I

POLYMER
I
2
3
4
5
6

- LAMINAR

10'

PRESSURE GRADIENT ( P S I 1 1 0 0 0 F T )

TABLE 1

TUBE DIA

0.0179%
0.0179%
0.0179%
0.143 %

K'

0
L

K
u

;
Y

10'

PRESSURE GRADIENT

IP S I / 1000FT)

FIG. 2 - FLOW DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING PUMPING


CHARACTERISTICS O F C E L L U L O S E I1 SOLUTIONS.

is equivalent t o "hydrodynamically stretching"


t h e tube. It i l l u s t r a t e s how t h e discharge capacity
of a pipeline, for example, i s i n c r e a s e d by drag
reduction. With c e r t a i n materials t h i s e f f e c t is
e v e n more s p e c t a c u l a r , s u c h a s the d a t a for t h e
I-in. p i p e c r o s s i n g t h e s o l v e n t l i n e i n t h e 1.31in. pipe.
It i s well known that i n t e n s e shearing oftentimes
r e s u l t s i n a degradative action in s o l u t i o n s of certain
t y p e s of polymers a s t h e l i n k s between network
s t r u c t u r e s a r e destroyed. In certain i n s t a n c e s , the
s h e a r i n g a c t i o n i s sufficiently violent to c a u s e t h e
d e g r e e of polymerization t o d e c r e a s e a s simple
s c i s s i o n of carbon-carbon bonds occurs. Shear

degradation w a s a l s o encountered in t h e s e s t u d i e s .
Degradation e f f e c t s usually showed up during
the duplicate run procedure described earlier.
However, in t h e c a s e of vinyl I, degradation w a s
s o rapid and i n t e n s e a s to produce an immediate
and continued upward drift in recorded p r e s s u r e
drop a t constant flow rate. Of course, some degradation may already have occurred during the solution
preparation s t a g e . T h e gum derivatives a l s o
showed a tendency to degrade in the p r e s e n c e of high
concentrations of sodium chloride. T h e other
materials studied were definitely s t a b l e . The e f f e c t
of an electrolyte environment on drag reduction
i s illustrated in Fig. 3. Here t h e pumping charact e r i s t i c s of c e l l u l o s e I are compared i n d i s t i l l e d
water and i n a 6 per c e n t solution of sodium
chloride. Note that t h e laminar flow properties
a r e strongly affected by t h e electrolyte. T h e s e
e f f e c t s probably reflect t h e influence of t h e s a l t
on t h e expansion and contraction of t h e molecular
coils.
Some r e s u l t s on solutions of vinyl I1 a r e shown
in Fig. 4. T h i s polymer did not exhibit drag
reduction c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s within t h e region s c a n n e d
a s evidenced by t h e failure of t h e d a t a points to
c r o s s the solvent line. T h i s wholly different
behavior y i e l d s friction f a c t o r s which a r e a l s o
l e s s than t h o s e predicted from t h e r e s i s t a n c e l a w s
for Newtonian fluids. T h e r e s u l t s a r e typical of
the d a t a which form t h e b a s i s of t h e Dodge and
Metzner correlations of friction factor v s Reynolds
number, and illustrate why published correlations
of t h i s kind are not applicable t o t h e prediction of
pumping requirements for fluids exhibiting drag
reduction characteristics.

NOTE SOL10 LINES DENOTE


SMWTHED FLOW CURVES
FOR WATER IN INDICATED
TUBE SIZE
C

l * k - '

' ' L " " l

10'

- '

' ' 1 ' " " I$

, ,,J
I+

PRESSURE GRADIENT (PSl/lOa) FT I

Drag R a t i o s

FIG. 3
FLOW DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING P U M P I N G
CHARACTERISTICS O F C E L L U L O S E I - NaC1 SOLU TIONS.

-s

10'

10'
NOTE SOLID LINES DENOTE
SMWTHED FLOW CURVES
FOR WTER IN INDICATED
TUBE SIZE

I
I00

1 1 11111

lo2
PRESSURE GRADIENT ( P S I / 1 0 0 0 F T )
10'

1 1 1 1 1 1
10'

FIG. 4 - FLOW DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING PUMPING


CHARACTERISTICS O F A VINYL I1 SOLUTION.

T h e drag ratio i s defined a s the ratio of t h e


observed p r e s s u r e gradient for t h e t e s t fluid
Ip to t h e observed pressure gradient for t h e solvent
I,, both measured under the same flow conditions.
T h i s ratio i s computed for a range of flow r a t e s
in e a c h t e s t section. That portion of t h e curve
lying above the datum ( I p = lo.) corresponds to
regions of unfavorable h y d r a u l ~ c s . T h i s would
include the laminar region and probably the transition
region. T h e o n s e t of drag reduction is indicated
by t h e curve falling below t h e datum. Therefore,
below t h e datum, t h e lower t h e ratio t h e higher the
degree of drag reduction. It follows that the drag
reduction ratio i s simply 1 - ]p/]o.
Some of t h e s e derived r e s u l t s a r e presented in
F i g s . 5 through 8, where t h e c u r v e s presented
h a v e been faired through t h e d a t a obtained from
s e v e r a l concentrations. In t h e summary plot of
F i g . 5 , for example, t h e c l a s s of c e l l u l o s e d e r i v a t i v e s
l i e within a narrow band of behavior. T h e vinyl
d e r i v a t i v e s show widely divergent behavior. F o r
example, a t 100 gal/min, vinyl I h a s reduced the
friction l o s s nearly 60 per c e n t , while a t t h e same
flow r a t e vinyl I1 s t i l l exhibits a higher p r e s s u r e
drop. Some of the polymers investigated undergo
mechanical s h e a r degradation. T h i s i s indicated
SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL

by the trend toward larger ratios a t the higher


flow rates.
A feature shared by a l l of t h e s e curves i s a
tendency toward higher drag ratios a t low flow
r a t e s where laminar conditions prevail. In Fig. 6
the ratios for various concentrations of cellulose I
are plotted v s flow rate. At 5 gal/min the factors
r i s e rapidly from 1.03 to 5.6, corresponding t o the
concentration range from 0.0358 t o 0.286 per cent,
respectively.
Some results obtained with s a l t solutions in

TUBE DIA. : 1.0"


CONC. : 0.0716%

(1) C E L L U L O S E

JI

(2) C E L L U L O S E

R) V I N Y L I

TUBE DIA.:

(4) V I N Y L I[

CONC.:

1.31''

(I) GUM I

0.275%

(21 GUM 11

(3) C E L L U L O S E I
20

40

60

80

100

120

FLOW RATE (GPM)

FIG. 5

- DRAG

RATIOS F O R SOME SYNTHETIC


POLYMERS IN DISTILLED WATER.

FIG. 7 - DRAG RATIOS IN 6 P E R C E N T N a C l SOLUTIONS.

TUBE DIA.: 1.0"


POLYMER:

CELLULOSE I

----EXPERIMENTAL
REGION
----- EXTRAPOLATED REGION

III(/IIIIIIII
20

40

60

80

IW

I20

TUBE D I A :

20

40

FLOW RATE (GPM)

FIG. 6 - E F F E C T O F POLYMER CONCENTRATION


ON DRAG RATIOS IN DISTILLED WATER.
SEPTEMBER, 1964

1.89"

CONC. : 0 . 2 7 5 %

60

80

00

120

(I)

CELLULOSE

(2)

GUM I

140

I60

180

200

FLOW RATE (GPM)

FIG. 8 - DRAG

RATIOS IN 24 P E R
SOLUTIONS.

C E N T NaCl

1.31 and 1.89-in. p i p e s a r e illustrated in F i g s . 7


and 8. T h e following examples i l l u s t r a t e t h e s e
r e s u l t s quantitatively. Using t h e s e a d d i t i v e s in
a concentration of 0.275 per c e n t , t h e p r e s s u r e
drop incurred in pumping a 6 per c e n t solution
of sodium chloride a t 160 gal/min in a 1.31-in. pipe
i s reduced the following amounts (per cent):
gum I, 60; c e l l u l o s e I, 31; and gum 11, 23. Again,
for t h e s a m e concentration of polymer, the p r e s s u r e
drop incurred i n pumping a 24 p e r cent solution of
sodium chloride a t 200 gal/min in a 1.89-in. pipe
is reduced t h e following amounts (per cent): gum I,
5 6 and c e l l u l o s e 11, 53.
Hydraulic

Capacity

T h e hydraulic c a p a c i t y diagram i l l u s t r a t e s how


d i s c h a r g e a t c o n s t a n t p r e s s u r e gradient is affected
b y drag reduction. Here, observed p r e s s u r e gradients
a r e s e l e c t e d from t h e flow diagram for s e v e r a l
concentrations of additive and t h e corresponding flow r a t e s noted. T h e flow r a t e in gal/min
is then plotted v s the additive concentration
in per c e n t , and a number of smooth c u r v e s ,
corresponding t o c o n s t a n t pressure gradients,
a r e drawn through t h e points. T h e discharge
from a l-rin. p i p e for a s e r i e s of r o n s t a n t p r e s s u r e g r a d i e n t s a s a function of t h e concentration of vinyl I added i s illustrated in Fig.
9. T h e arrows labeled 0.175, etc., are directed
a t t h e c a p a c i t i e s of a 1.31-ln. pipe for water a t
t h e s e applied gradients. T h u s b,y t h e addition of
0.14 p e r c e n t of vinyl I to t h e 1-in. pipe, the d i s charge a t 0.7 psi/ft i s i n c r e a s e d 78 per c e n t , i.e.,
from 5 8 t o 108 gal/min. T h i s d i s c h a r g e i s equivalent
t o t h a t of water in t h e 1.31-in. pipe a t t h e s a m e
gradient.
T h e s e r e s u l t s vividly i l l u s t r a t e t h e concept
that t h e i n c r e a s e d d i s c h a r g e i s analogous to a
"hydrodynamic stretching" of t h e pipe. At the
higher p r e s s u r e g r a d i e n t s where turbulent flow
NOTE: ARROWS DENOTE CAPACITY FOR

TUBE DIA.: 1.0"


POLYMER: V I N Y L

SOLVENT : DISTILLED WATER

POLYMER CONCENTRATION

WATER OF 1.31" TUBE


AT INDICATED PRESSURE
GRADIENTS

(%I

FIG. 9 - E F F E C T O F P O L Y M E R CONCENTRATION
ON HYDRAULIC C A P A C I T Y A T C O N S T A N T P R E S S U R E
GRADIENT.

prevails, t h e discharge i n c r e a s e s over a wide


range of concentration. At low applied g r a d i e n t s
t h e discharge may b e characterized by a maximum.
T h a t i s , a s t h e polymer concentration i s i n c r e a s e d ,
a n initially turbulent flow may revert to t h e
unfavorable laminar type. T h e s e findings s u g g e s t
that only a relatively small "critical" concentration
of polymer i s required to i n i t i a t e drag-reduction
behavior. With certain a c t i v e polymers, optimum
discharge i s attained a t a n additive concentration
l e s s than 0.1 per cent. Beyond t h i s t h e r e is
negligible i n c r e a s e and complications a r i s e from
large pressure gradients in t h e laminar flow region.
DISCUSSION

Proposed Mechanisms

T h e question now a r i s e s : How i s turbulent flow


altered b y t h e p r e s e n c e of a macromolecule s u c h
that drag reduction occurs. T o find a s p e c i f i c
mechanism is unlikely. However, we c a n a t l e a s t
fix i d e a s b y considering the mechanisms proposed
by others: (1) boundary layer thickening; (2)
v i s c o s i t y gradient, and (3) v i s c o e l a s t i c i t y .

Boundary layer thickening


T h e f i r s t of t h e s e
is d u e t o 01droyde3 T h e suggestion s t e m s from
observations by T o m s 2 on the turbulent flow
behavior of a dilute solution of poly(rnethy1methacrylate) in monochlorobenzene. Toms observed
unexpectedly high r a t e s of flow with t h i s solution
in capillaries. T h e r e s u l t s were very similar to
t h o s e reported in Fig. 9. A surprising feature of t h e
solution, however, w a s i t s (apparently) Newtonian
behavior, and t h e c l o s e proximity of t h e solution
v i s c o s i t y t o t h a t of t h e micromolecular solvent.
Since t h i s w a s a solution of macromolecules,
Oldroyd reasoned that t h e wall influenced t h e way
i n which the polymer chain rotated. T h i s s u g g e s t e d
that with t h e mainstream in turbulent flow, a
thickened layer could develop near t h e boundary.
It i s c l e a r that if boundary l a y e r thickening could
e x i s t i t would significantly a l t e r t h e friction l o s s .
Measurements b y Laufer,29 among others, show
that t h e flow of energy from t h e mean flow t o t h e
turbulent motion is a maximum i n s i d e t h e sub-layer.
Not only d o e s a high r a t e of d i s s i p a t i o n occur
here but a high r a t e of turbulence production
e x i s t s here a s well.
A similar lowering of p r e s s u r e drops h a s b e e n
reported for s u s p e n s i o n s of wood pulp fibers s e e for example Robertson and Mason6 and Daily
and Bugliarello.* Here a segregation of t h e
s u s p e n d e d fiber p h a s e t a k e s p l a c e ; t h e r e s u l t i s
t h e formation of a c l e a r water annulus which s e e m s
t o b e in t h e nature of a boundary layer. Tomica30
h a s postulated that t h e friction l o s s may b e governed
by t h e flow within t h e water film which may become
laminar a t a critical velocity which d e p e n d s on
t h e concentration of pulp fibers. However, i t i s
likely that t h e damping effect i s a l s o due in part
to t h e e l a s t i c properties of t h e wood fibers.
T h e Oldroyd mechanism p r e d i c t s t h a t a plot of
friction factor v s Reynolds number should exhibit
SOCIETY O F PETROLEUM EKGIKEERS JOURNAL

a "diameter effect" in t h e presence of a boundary


layer. F o r a given Reynolds number of flow, t h e
trend expected would b e s u c h that t h e s m a l l e s t
friction factors would occur i n t h e s m a l l e s t diameter
tube. T h e d a t a of Toms, that of Dodge and Metzner
on a CMC solution, and t h e d a t a presented here
show a similar dependence. on tube s i z e . T h e
magnitude of t h e effect i s illustrated on comparing
the correlations of friction factor v s Gener'alized
Reynolds number in F i g s . 10 and 11. T h e Generalized
Reynolds number is defined a s

where n ' and K ' are t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c parameters


in t h e power l a w model,

Fig. 10 shows t h e agreement between observed


friction factor d a t a obtained from experiments on
vinyl 11, which did not exhibit drag reduction
within t h e region scanned, and t h e predictions
from t h e Dodge-Metzner correlation for n' = 0.459.
Data from proving runs with water a r e a l s o shown.
T h e s e d a t a were compiled from measurements in
1, 1.31 and 1.89-in. t u b e s ; there i s no evidence
of a "diameter effect". In contrast, Fig. 1 1 shows
the agreement between friction f a c t o r s measured i n
turbulent flow of c e l l u l o s e 11, which reduced drag,
and t h e predictions from both t h e Dodge-Metzner
correlation24 and t h e Shaver-Merrill correlation23
for n ' = 0.86. T h e dependence on tube s i z e i s

FIG. 11 - "DIAMETER E F F E C T " IN A P O L Y M E R


SOLUTION EXHIBITING D R A G REDUCTION.

striking. T h e divergence is i n e x a c t l y t h e same


direction as that predicted by the Oldroyd
mechanism. Furthermore, the friction f a c t o r s
for c e l l u l o s e I1 a r e considerably smaller than t h o s e
predicted from t h e s e earlier correlations. T h e
r e s u l t s in F i g . 11 a r e typical of t h e correlations
obtained on a l l of t h e s o l u t i o n s which exhibited
drag reduction.
T h e significance of t h i s completely different
turbulent flow behavior in t h e interpretation of
drag reduction and turbulence s u p p r e s s i o n i s more
clearly illustrated in Fig. 12, in which a portion
of the 1-in. tube d a t a from F i g s . 10 and 11 h a v e
b e e n plotted a s log friction f a c t o r v s log flow rate.
Although at low v e l o c i t i e s , corresponding to
laminar flow conditions, t h e friction f a c t o r s
(pressure l o s s e s ) a r e higher than for water, a t
higher v e l o c i t i e s t h e r e v e r s e i s true for cellul o s e 11. Note in particular t h a t J p = 1, a t
21.4
gal/min corresponding to N k, = 6.2 x 103 for
c e l l u l o s e 11, and NR, = 8.6 x 104 for water.
From t h i s point on, t h e p r e s s u r e l o s s e s for

I.

131"

VINYL

1 (0.143% WT.1

GENERALIZED REYNOLDS NUHsER

FIG. 10 - F R I C T I O N F A C T O R C O R R E L A T I O N S F O R P U R E L Y VISCOUS F L U I D S .
S E P T E M B E R , 196.2

for c e l l u l o s e I1 become progressively lower than


t h o s e for water, and h e n c e t h e drag reduction
b e c o m e s greater. In contrast, vinyl I1 maintains
higher p r e s s u r e l o s s e s out to a much higher l e v e l
of turbulent flow. If o n e extrapolates t h e d a t a ,
there i s a n indication that a t - 200 gal/min,
corresponding t o N ke = 3.4 x 104 for vinyl I1 and
N R e = 6.3 x 105 for water, t h e l o s s c u r v e s converge.
However, t h i s i s no guarantee that beyond t h i s
point t h e condition ] < I,, and therefore a reduction
in drag, will b e o t t a i n e d for vinyl 11. In f a c t ,
d a t a taken a t a lower concentration tend t o indicate
that t h e condition Ip = 1, will simply b e obeyed
a t s t i l l higher flow r a t e s . T h e v a l u e N ke = 104
i s a l s o shown a s a point of reference between
F i g s . 10 and 11 and t h e s e data.
T h e d a t a shown in F i g . 12 a r e typical of the
r e s u l t s obtained on a l l of t h e solutions which
exhibited drag reduction. T h e s e findings clearly
d i s t i n g u i s h between t h a t type of turbulence
s u p p r e s s i o n heretofore a s s o c i a t e d with the lowering of t h e friction factor observed in published
friction f a c t o r v s Reynolds number correlations
for non-Newtonian s y s t e m s , and t h e phenomenon
which yields a superficially similar friction factor
correlation b u t which i s further characterized b y
drag reduction.
F i g . 13 s h o w s laminar, and some transition,
flow d a t a for c e l l u l o s e 11. T h e data.from the laminar
region form a reasonably composite representation,
i.e., a r e independent of flow geometry a s required
( s e e S a v i n s 3 1 ) , b y t h e functional relationship
between s h e a r s t r e s s r, and r a t e of s h e a r f(r,),

In contrast, t h e transition region i s indicated


by t h e appearance of a family of curves, t h e
i n t e r s e c t i o n s with t h e laminar curve being governed
by tube s i z e . T h i s is a useful criterion of flow
transition which d o e s not require t h e u s e of t h e
Generalized Reynolds number concept.
Oldroyd's suggested method of detecting boundary
layer thickening in turbulent flow w a s developed
for dilute Newtonian-like solutions. Therefore the
method h a s to b e modified to handle t h e s e
rheologically anomalous fluids. Both Dodge and
Metzner,24 a s well a s Clapp,25 have generalized
Nikuradse's r e s i s t a n c e l a w relating friction factors
and Reynolds numbers in turbulent Newtonian flow.
E x t e n s i o n of t h i s approach t o t h e power-law
model (Eq. 2) g i v e s :

where:

T h e functional relationship between B(n )' and


C(n )' and the flow index n ' depends on t h e b a s i c
flow mechanism adopted in the derivation of Eq.
5, i.e., the von Karman or t h e Prandtl theories.
If we adopt t h e postulate t h a t when t h e mainstream
i s turbulent, a thickened boundary layer may
develop, t h e effect c a n b e e x p r e s s e d a s a n effective
velocity of s l i p us , or by a boundary l a y e r coefficient,
defined a s :

It may b e r e c a l l e d that Eq. 3 i s obtained by


differentiation with r e s p e c t t o T, of the integral
equation for P o i s e u i l l e flow,

W L Y Y R : CELLULOSE

II

COWCj 0.275 X

X IWT.1 IN DlST WATER


0

CELLULOSE II

0.278
0.143

T U E DIA

1'

lo0

FIG. 1 2 - COMPARISON O F F R I C T I O N F A C T O R FLOW R A T E DATA F O R DRAG R E D U C E R , A N D NONDRAG R E D U C E R P O L Y M E R SOLUTIONS.

*I

1 1 ,111

10'

I ,,,mi

IO1

1 1 1 1

lo1

SHEAR STRESS ( D Y N E S / C Y ' )

FIG.

13 - COMPOSITE LAMINAR FLOW C U R V E F O R


C E L L U L O S E I1 SOLUTION.
SOCIETY O F PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL

Note that 5-l i s analogous to a v i s c o s i t y per


unit length. According t o Oldroyd, the effective
velocity of s l i p d o e s not alter the velocity d i s tribution in t h e turbulent region remote from t h e
wall. It simply superimposes a uniform velocity i n
the direction of flow. It follows that we may
substitute V - v, for t h e bulk average velocity
in Eqs. 1, 5 and 6, and using Eq. 7 obtain in
place of Eq. 5 t h e result:

If the diameter effect in Fig. 11 i s to b e explained


by Eq. 8, it follows that if the observables are
plotted in t h e form of (l/.\if, ( l / a P ) v s (B(n ')logl0
[N k, ( f ) l- '121 - C(n ?*/I,
a l l t h e r e s u l t s for
p i p e s of different diameters for a given solution
should l i e o n a single straight line with a positive
intercept equal to
F o r simplicity, i t i s a l s o
assumed that 5 is a constant for a given solution.
In Fig. 14 we have t e s t e d Eq. 8 using a portion of
the turbulent flow d a t a on two polymer solutions
which exhibited t h e diameter effect and drag
reduction.
For comparison, some of t h e turbulent flow
d a t a on a solution of vinyl I1 in d i s t i l l e d water
which did not exhibit t h e s e e f f e c t s a r e included.
We put B(n 3 = 4 and C(nP) = 0.4, for solutions of
c e l l u l o s e I1 and gum I i n d i s t i l l e d water and 24
per c e n t NaC1, respectively.* We u s e d the DodgeMetzner r e s u l t s for vinyl 11, putting B ( n 3 = 4/
(n 3 0.75 and C(n ') = 0.4/(n? 1 . 2 with n ' = 0.459.
T h e excellent fit obtained with vinyl I1 y i e l d s ( =
0. T h i s i n d i c a t e s a n a b s e n c e of boundary layer
thickening, a result mutually c o n s i s t e n t with an
a b s e n c e of a diameter effect in F i g . 10. Looking
a t t h e r e s u l t s for t h e solutions which exhibited
drag reduction, we observe that t h e d a t a from t h e
three p i p e s for e a c h solution approximate a linear
relationship which may b e extrapolated to a positive
intercept. Evaluating t h e s e intercepts we found
5 = 0.96 for t h e gum derivative, and 5 = 0.77 for
c e l l u l o s e 11. T h e r e s u l t s a r e c o n s i s t e n t with t h e
Oldro yd boundary layer mech anism.
Of even greater significance i s t h e finding that
the numerical v a l u e s of t h e coefficients, although
relative b e c a u s e of t h e v a l u e s of B(n 3 and C(n 3
used, a r e mutually c o n s i s t e n t with t h e trend in
drag reduction characteristics. T h a t i s , t h e degree
of drag reduction becomes more pronounced a s 5
i n c r e a s e s . So far there h a s b e e n no attempt t o
e s t a b l i s h whether t h e boundary layer thickening
mechanism and 5, which i s really in t h e nature of
a mathematical device a t t h i s s t a g e , c a n b e related
*These values are due to Nikuradse. At the time t h e s e
data were obtained there was insufficient information
available to permit a precise determination of the functional
relationship between B ( n 0 ) , C(n'), and n' for the solutions
exhibiting drag reduction.
SEPTEMBER, 1964

to t h e physical properties of t h e solutions.


Viscosity gradient - T h e s e c o n d mechanism of
an anomalous v i s c o s i t y gradient damping turbulence
i s d u e t o Shaver and Merrill. 23 On injecting a dye
into a CMC solution in turbulent motion, i t w a s
observed that fluid l a y e r s a d j a c e n t t o the wall
were much thicker than in t h e flow of water under
turbulent conditions. Further, v o r t i c e s leaving t h e
l a y e r were relatively few in number. T h e damping
effect w a s attributed to a p o s i t i v e gradient of
viscosity* * encountered by t h e vortices on forming
a t t h e wall and moving toward t h e region remote
from t h e boundary. It w a s concluded t h a t t h e lower
energy d i s s i p a t i o n r e s u l t e d from a r e p r e s s i n g
effect by t h e v i s c o s i t y on t h e formation of the
vortices. It w a s a l s o proposed that the d e c r e a s e d
friction f a c t o r s and sharper velocity profiles which
were measured could b e attributed t o t h e v i s c o s i t y
damping effect. It c a n b e demonstrated that t h i s
t h e s i s i s only partly correct. F o r example, a l l
of t h e solutions studied b y Shaver12 [two g r a d e s of
CMC, a n alginate, a poly(acid), and a poly(viny1)
alcohol, a l l i n water s o l u t i o n s , and a polyisobutylene
i n cyclohexanelwere typical non-Newtonian systems.
All would exhibit t h e v i s c o s i t y gradient effect.
Yet, in addition to t h e polyisobutylene solution,
only one grade of CMC and t h e a l g i n a t e solution
exhibited drag reduction properties. T h u s we n e e d
**For a non-Newtonian the viscosity i s generally at a
minimum a t t h e boundary and at a maximum i n the region
remote from the wall owing to the distribution of shearing
s t r e s s a c r o s s the tube c r o s s section.

% (WT.)

SYSTEM
&UM

oCELLULOSE
OVINYL

FIG. 14

II

II

SOLVENT

_L

DRAG REDUCTICN RATHO

0.275 6 % NaCI SOLN. 0.96

0.286

d.w.

0.77

0.143

d.w

NONE

- G R A P H I C A L METHOD F O R DETERMINING
BOUNDARY L A Y E R C O E F F I C I E N T S .

t o examine t h e third mechanism for c l u e s .


Viscoelasticity
- T h e suggestion that
v i s c o e l a s t i c properties might c a u s e drag reduction
s t e m s from s p e c u l a t i o n s r a i s e d in t h e d i s c u s s i o n s
following t h e p a p e r s b y T o m s and Oldroyd.
Atkinson32 s u g g e s t e d t h a t s i n c e t h e s e were s o l u t i o n s
of macromolecules, e l a s t i c deformations might
occur which would modify t h e type of turbulence.
Ward 33 thought that although t h e solutions might
not exhibit much e l a s t i c deformation under ordinary
conditions, it w a s p o s s i b l e t h a t e l a s t i c behavior
might b e of importance under turbulent flow
conditions. T h e p o s s i b i l i t y of interaction and
entanglement of d i s s o l v e d c h a i n molecules which
t e n d t o damp and d e l a y t h e o n s e t of turbulence
w a s advanced b y Davies.34
In t h i s regard, i t h a s b e e n observed that d i l u t e
s o l u t i o n s of poly(methylmethacry1ate) in s e l e c t e d
organic liquids 35t36 moderate concentrations of
aluminum s o a p s of fatty a c i d s in gasoline37 and
low concentrations of t h e higher v i s c o s i t y g r a d e s
of CMC i n water,38 exhibit v i s c o e l a s t i c properties.
All of t h e s e s o l u t i o n s a r e characterized b y drag
reduction properties in turbulent flow. In s t u d i e s
b y Oldroyd, Toms, and Strawbridge, and Van
Wazer and Goldberg, t h e e l a s t i c properties were
measured in a coaxial cylinder elastoviscometer.
Here one o b s e r v e s t h e amplitude of uniform
o s c i l l a t i o n s of t h e inner cylinder, suspended from
a torison rod, a s t h e outer cylinder e x e c u t e s forced
harmonic o s c i l l a t i o n s of known amplitude and
frequency. T h e purely v i s c o u s fluid responds t o
an alternating shearing motion in the following
manner: a s t h e frequency of the outer cylinder
i n c r e a s e s , t h e amplitude of t h e inner cylinder
gradually d e c r e a s e s , When a n e l e c t r i c fluid is
s u b j e c t e d to t h i s type of shearing motion, there
i s a n intermediate frequency where t h e amplitude
of rotation of t h e inner cylinder becomes greater
than t h a t of t h e outer cylinder. T h i s m e a n s an
e l a s t i c force i s p r e s e n t r e s i s t i n g distortion of
t h e liquid.
E l a s t i c i t y i n CMC and polyisobutylene s o l u t i o n s
h a s b e e n d e t e c t e d b y Metzner b y applying t h e
Weissenberg conjecture?g to t h e swelling of a
liquid jet emerging from a capillary. There w a s
a l s o some e v i d e n c e of t h e p r e s e n c e of a low l e v e l
of e l a s t i c i t y in a poly(acid) of t h e same c l a s s
studied b y Shaver and Merri11!2*23
However,
Bogue40 doubts the p r e s e n c e of e l a s t i c properties
i n t h e s e poly(acids) a s a r e s u l t of an a n a l y s i s of
their velocity profiles in turbulent flow. He observed
that t h e profiles for t h e poly(acid) were not much
different from t h e profiles for water in turbulent
flow. In contrast, t h e velocity p r o f i l e s for t h e
e l a s t i c CMC s o l u t i o n s a r e much s t e e p e r than t h e
profiles for water. T h u s t h e occurrence of e l a s t i c
properties i s a l s o mutually c o n s i s t e n t with t h e
occurrence of drag reduction. However i t remains
t o b e s e e n whether t h e interactions between
macromolecules and a m i c r o m o l ~ c u l a rsolvent c a n
b e r e l a t e d t o e l a s t i c behavior and t h e presence of
a thickened boundary layer.

Modes of Polymer Chain Turbulent


Lump Interaction

Turbulent motion i s characterized by irregularities


in time and s p a c e , e.g., turbulent v e l o c i t i e s and
frequencies fluctuating between 1 and 103 c m / s e c ,
and 1 and 104 c y c l e s / s e c , respectively. T h e r e is
a l s o considerable flexing, stretching and shrinking
of "lumps" of fluid. One v i s u a l i z e s that the
exchange of transferable properties i s greatly inc r e a s e d a s a result of t h e s e deformations. Now a
simple model for depicting the v i s c o e l a s t i c behavior
of a solution of flexible molecules i s to consider
the macromolecules a s subdivided into s e g m e n t s
linked together b y molecular springs. R e g a r d l e s s
of how idealized t h e model may b e , it i l l u s t r a t e s
a number of important differences between the
behavior of a micromolecular solvent, and t h e
solvent in t h e presence of t h e macromolecule. F o r
example, t h e relaxation time of t h e bonds holding
t h e micromolecular solvent together is probably
on t h e order of 10-12 s e c o n d s . T h e relaxation time
for a dilute solution of macromolecules c a n b e
much longer. F o r example, Toms and Strawbridge36
report that a 3 per c e n t solution of poly(methy1methacrylate) in pyridine h a s a relaxation time on
the order of 6.5 x 10-2 secorlds. Van Wazer and
Goldberg37
have measured comparable time
for s o a p g e l s . Significantly, t h e s e times are
comparable t o the frequencies encountered in
turbulent: motion.
T h e f a c t that mechanical energy c a n b e stored
in a flexible molecule, a s evidenced b y t h e long
relaxation times for flow, i s very significant in
understanding t h e phenomenon of drag reduction
with macromolecules. Under laminar flow conditions
in a long tube t h e e l a s t i c energy stored in a
v i s c o e l a s t i c fluid is independent of time. Therefore,
the pressure drop i n s u c h a flow is not affected
b y t h e e l a s t i c i t y of t h e solution. Hence any
differences between t h e e l a s t i c fluid and t h e
purely v i s c o u s non-Newtonian fluid will b e masked
in t h i s simple symmetric flow. However, with the
o n s e t of turbulent motion, t h e macromolecules
become spring-like. T h e mode of energy d i s s i p a t i o n
becomes v a s t l y different. E x p r e s s e d mathematically,
t h e time derivatives in e v e n t h e simplest equations
representing e l a s t i c behavior do not vanish, nor d o
they reduce to algebraic combinations of t h e s t r e s s e s
and t h e r a t e s of strain alone. With increasing
turbulence t h e motion will b e more strongly
influenced b y t h e e l a s t i c energy while t h e nonlinear v i s c o s i t y will contribute a second-order
effect. T h u s , the mode of interaction proposed
here between macromolecules and t h e perturbed
micromoIecular solvent leading to drag reduction
i s simply t h i s : t h e molecular e l a s t i c e l e m e n t s
store t h e kinetic energy of t h e turbulent motion.
It i s to b e expected that t h e strength of the
ensuing drag reduction will b e governed b y the
time -dependent
p r o c e s s e s (or characteristic
relaxation functions of the v i s c o e l a s t i c solution).
T h i s proposed mode of interaction i s not
SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL

particularly unique s i n c e Saffman41 u s e s a similar


argument to explain t h e s t a b i l i t y of laminar flow
of a d u s t y g a s . T h e analogous phenomenon is that
adding c o a r s e d u s t t o a i r flowing in turbulent
motion will reduce the pressure drop. Saffman
explains t h e r e s u l t of t h e b a s i s that t h e effect of
the d u s t i s described b y a relaxation time. T h i s
time m e a s u r e s t h e r a t e a t which t h e velocity of the
dust particle a d j u s t s t o c h a n g e s in g a s velocity.
If t h i s time i s large compared t o a characteristic
time s c a l e a s s o c i a t e d with t h e flow, t h e d u s t will
exert a stabilizing action. T h e result i s that t h e
critical Reynolds number i s shifted t o higher g a s
velocities.
It h a s b e e n postulated that [ > 0 b e interpreted
from a p h y s i c a l standpoint a s evidence of thickening
of t h e boundary l a y e r next to t h e wall. Now in
turbulent flow there e x i s t s a v i s c o u s layer near t h e
wall which i s made up of a sub-layer where t h e
v i s c o u s s t r e s s e s predominate, and another composite
region where v i s c o u s and Reynolds s t r e s s e s a r e
of t h e s a m e order of magnitude. It is p o s s i b l e that
is some g r o s s reflection of t h e action of
t h e storage of t h e kinetic energy of turbulent
motion within t h e thickened boundary l a y e r
in t h e form of e l a s t i c energy. If there a r e
e l a s t i c - l i k e interactions within t h e thickened
boundary layer, t h e r e s u l t could significantly alter
the drag, and h e n c e t h e p r e s s u r e drop in turbulent
flow. T h i s would occur b e c a u s e most of the
production and d i s s i p a t i o n of turbulent energy
t a k e s p l a c e in t h e thickened boundary layer. T o
s a y more requires a systematic investigation of
t h e functional relationship between [and rheological
properties other than t h e v i s c o s i t y function, and
particularly t h e e l a s t i c behavior of t h e s e solutions.
We plan t o present some r e s u l t s of s u c h a n investigation in a l a t e r paper in which drag reduction
in larger s i z e p i p e s i s a l s o examined quantitatively.

1,

IP

a tube of length L )
observed p r e s s u r e gradient for solvent
observed p r e s s u r e gradient for polymer
solution

K '= fluid c o n s i s t e n c y index,


power law model, Eq. 2

parameter in

n'

flow behavior index, parameter in power


l a w model, Eq. 2

he

generalized Reynolds number, Eq. 1

flow r a t e

average fluid velocity

<

effective s l i p velocity

boundary
Eq. 7

us

layer

coefficient,

defined b y

fluid d e n s i t y
s h e a r s t r e s s a t r a d i u s ' r of tube

rw = s h e a r s t r e s s e v a l u a t e d a t wall of tube

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
I wish t o thank R. F. Burdyn, W. R. F o s t e r and
G. C. Wallick for t h e benefit of their helpful
criticisms and advice. T h e permission of Socony
Mobil Oil Co., Inc. to publish t h i s material is a l s o
gratefully acknowledged.

N(n9

C(n )'

NOMENCLATURE
dimensionless function of flow behavior
index
dimensionless function of flow behavior
index

i n s i d e diameter of tube

friction factor, dimensionless, defined by


Eq. 6

f(r)

s h e a r rate at r a d i u s r of tube

f(rw)

s h e a r r a t e evaluated a t wall of tube

F ( T ~--) function defined by Eq.

pressure gradient (pressure drop through

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