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A brief discussion on action of DRPs in single and multiphase flows

Drag reduction polymers are long chain ultra-high molecular weight polymers
which can be water and/or oil soluble. Higher molecular weight polymers give
better drag reduction performance and only ppm level of polymer in the working
fluid suppresses the formation of turbulent bursts in the buffer region and in turn
suppresses the formation and propagation of turbulent eddies. This causes the
hydraulic energy provided by the pumps to be more directed to moving the fluid
down the pipeline rather than being used for a chaotic and random motion. Two
main types of drag reduction can be distinguished based on the region where
they display drag reduction. The first is drag reduction by very dilute solutions
that display drag reduction in the fully developed turbulent region where drag
reduction occurs only above an onset Reynolds number and friction factor
reduces below that of ordinary Newtonian turbulent flow. The second is drag
reduction by more concentrated polymer solutions that display drag reduction in
the extended laminar region at low Reynolds number. Both types of drag
reduction increases with flow rate until a critical wall shear is attained.
In multiphase flow experiments, DRPs reduced the turbulence and drag by
prolonging laminar flow or delaying the onset of turbulence to higher Reynolds
number. In gas-liquid annular flow, wave formation gets damped and the flow
pattern changes to either an annular distribution with a smoother interface, very
low entrainment and more stratified appearance or to fully stratified flow with
virtually no entrainment. Likewise, wavy stratified flow may change to smooth
stratified and slug flow may break up into a more unstable form of slug flow or
pseudo-slug flow. DRP cause much less circulation of liquid in slug flow and
dampens wave formation in annular flow, resulting in a smoother liquid film.
Laminarisation of slug is associated with increase in bubble velocity behind slug
and this causes an increase in shedding rate and therefore, destabilization of the
slugs. A reduction in interfacial wave structure and wave activity leads to a
reduction in interfacial friction factor which increase the average thickness of
liquid layer. It is thought that reduction in drag in annular flow is caused mainly
by suppression of gas-liquid interaction rather than suppression of turbulence in
liquid film. DRP changes dispersed to stratified flow by causing increased bubble
coalescence and reduction in turbulent mixing.
A possible explanation of flow pattern change from water continuous dispersed
flow to stratified flow in oil-water systems is the substantial reduction of
turbulent mixing forces by injection of PDR in water continuous dispersed flow.
In addition, it increases droplet coalescence which eventually leads to
stratification due to the prevailing gravitational force. Thus it can be postulated
that adding water soluble PDRA maintains a stratified wavy flow pattern for even
higher water velocities and delays stratified wavy with drops flow regime. It also
damps high amplitude waves on the interface which cause water drops formation
and entrainment into oil layer. Consequently, transition to stratified mixed/water
layer, three layers and eater continuous dispersed flow regimes occur at higher il
and water velocities after addition of PDRA. In addition, at high mixture velocities
where a dispersed flow exists, the addition pf PDRA reduces the degree of

turbulent mixing andeliminates the phase inversion peak indicated by pressure

gradient.A geat reduction in pressure gradient occurs at the phase inversion
point by addition of PDRA as the molecular weight of PDRA increases.
It is generally believed that in addition to the effects of DRPs on single phase
flows such as dampening turbulent bursts, wall roughness reduction and pipe
wall wettability reduction , DRPs have numerous additional unique effects on
multiphase pipe flow that lead to drag reduction. These include interfacial straee
reduction, holdup change, flow pattern change aand reduction of effective
density in vertical flows.
The positive effect of PDRA concentration in reducing pressure can be explained
in terms of the formation of aggregates. Increasing the PDRA concentration
enhances the formation of aggregates which play a significant role in drag
A possible explanation of the increase in PDRA effectiveness with increasing
molecular weight is that increasing <W increases polymer entanglement and this
improved polymer entanglement.