Experimental study on the effect of drag reducing polymer on flow patterns and drag reduction in a horizontal oil-water flow

N. Yusuf, T. Al-Wahaibi*, Y. Al-Wahaibi, A. Al-Ajmi, A. R. Al-Hashmi, A. S. Olawale, I. A. Mohammed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a HMW anionic co-polymer of 40:60wt/wt NaAMPS/acrylamide was used as a drag reducing polymer (DRP) for oil-water flow in a horizontal 25.4mm ID acrylic pipe. The effect of polymer concentration in the master solution and after injection in the main water stream, oil and water velocities, and pipe length on drag reduction (DR) was investigated. The injected polymer had a noticeable effect on flow patterns and their transitions. Stratified and dual continuous flows extended to higher superficial oil velocities while annular flow changed to dual continuous flow. The results showed that as low as 2ppm polymer concentration was sufficient to create a significant drag reduction across the pipe. DR was found to increase with polymer concentration increased and reached maximum plateau value at around 10ppm. The results showed that the drag reduction effect tends to increase as superficial water velocity increased and eventually reached a plateau at U sw of around 1.3m/s. At U sw>1.0m/s, the drag reduction decreased as U so increased while at lower water velocities, drag reduction is fluctuating with respect to U so. A maximum DR of about 60% was achieved at U so=0.14m/s while only 45% was obtained at U so=0.52m/s. The effectiveness of the DRP was found to be independent of the polymer concentration in the master solution and to some extent pipe length. The friction factor correlation proposed by Al-Sarkhi et al. (2011) for horizontal flow of oil-water using DRPs was found to underpredict the present experimental pressure gradient data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Drag reducing polymer
  • Drag reduction
  • Flow pattern map
  • Flow pattern transition
  • Oil-water flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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