Complex Behavior of Polymers as Drag Reducing Agents Through Pipe Fittings


Department of Chemical Engineering, BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, India


Polymer induced turbulent drag reduction has significant industrial importance and finds application in industries, oil and gas, fire-fighting, marine, irrigation, biomedical etc. Most of the reported literature is focused on the skin drag reduction in pipe flow employing drag reducing additives (DRAs) like polymers, surfactants, fibres and suspensions. In this work, the effect of polymeric addition on the total drag reduction (skin and form) is studied for turbulent flow of water through various fittings like 45 degree elbow, 90 degree miter, sudden expansion and sudden contraction. Different polymers like PAM, PEO, HPMC have been employed as DRAs at various concentrations and pressure drops. The results indicate a complex and interesting behavior. When compared to the results reported for pipe flow, even in this case polymers are found to give total drag reduction (TDR) though less relative to skin drag alone. The extent of TDR is found to depend on the nature of fitting, polymer and its concentration and the pressure drop used. From the results, it is also clear that there is a strong need to further investigate the problem using sophisticated analytical tools on rheometry and polymer degradation.