Effect of drag-reducing polymers on horizontal oil-water flows

Talal Al-Wahaibi, Mujeeb Smith, Panagiota Angeli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of a drag-reducing polymer (DRP) in the water phase during horizontal oil-water flow was investigated in a 14 mm ID acrylic pipe. Oil (5.5 mPa s, 828 kg/m3) and a co-polymer (Magnafloc 1011) of polyacrylamide and sodium acrylate were used. Two polymer concentrations were tested, 20 ppm and 50 ppm, made from a 1000 ppm master solution. The results showed a strong effect of DRP on flow patterns. The presence of DRP extended the region of stratified flow and delayed transition to slug flow. The addition of the polymer clearly damped interfacial waves. Annular flow changed in all cases investigated to stratified or dual continuous flow, while slug flow changed in most cases to stratified flow. In the cases where the slug and bubble flow patterns still appeared after the addition of the polymer, the oil slugs and bubbles were seen to flow closer together than in the flow without the polymer. The DRP caused a decrease in pressure gradient and a maximum drag reduction of about 50% was found when the polymer was introduced into annular flow. The height of the interface and the water hold up increased with DRP. There were no large differences on pressure gradient and hold up between the two DRP concentrations. Using a two-fluid model it was found that the addition of the polymer results in a decrease in both the interfacial and the water wall shear stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-346
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Drag reduction
  • Flow pattern transition
  • Hold up
  • Horizontal oil-water flow
  • Polymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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