Drag Reduction with Biopolymer-Synthetic Polymer Mixtures in Oil-Water Flows: Effect of Synergy
Keywords:pressure drop, polymer, polymer-polymer mixture, synergism, oil-water flow, drag reduction
The search for lower cost materials that reduce pressure drop in fluid transport systems in oil and gas industries to conserve pumping energy is of paramount importance. Polymers are known to reduce pressure drop in pipeline oil-water flows in a process referred to as drag reduction (DR). The effect of partially hydrolysed polyacrylamide, polyethylene oxide, Aloe Vera mucilage and their mixtures as drag reducing polymers (DRPs) on pressure gradient (pressure drop; Δp) in pipeline oil-water flows were studied. The experiment was carried out in flow rig with 0.02-m diameter straight unplasticised polyvinylchloride (uPVC) pipe, two centrifugal pumps, control valves and two storage tanks. Tap water (ρ = 997 kg/m3 and µ = 0.89 cP) and diesel (ρ = 832 kg/m3 and µ = 1.66 cP) were used as the test fluid at ambient condition. The polymer mixture total concentration (MTC) of 30 and 400 ppm at different mixing proportion, mixture Reynolds number (Remix) and oil input volume were investigated. The results show increase in pressure gradient with increase in oil input volume in both single-phase water flow and oil-water flow before adding drag reducing polymers (DRPs). However, Δp decreased after adding DRPs with increase in Reynolds number (Re) or Remix and decrease in the oil-phase Re, and vice versa. The results further showed higher reduction in pressure drop by the polymer mixture than in each of the polymer used at the same conditions. The rigidness of the biopolymer was improved by adding synthetic polymers which resulted to increase in DR efficiency.
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