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Drag reduction using additives in a Taylor-Couette Flow Open Access


Other title
Taylor-Couette Flow
Thermo-resposive polymers
Drag reduction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bhambri, Pallavi
Supervisor and department
Fleck, Brian (Mechanical Engineering)
Narain, Ravin (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Narain, Ravin (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
Fleck, Brian (Mechanical Engineering)
Waghmare, Prashant (Mechanical Engineering)
Sadrzadeh, Mohtada (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The current study investigates the drag reduction (DR) using high molecular weight polymers such as commercial polyacrylamide, polysaccharides and thermo-responsive polymers. A Taylor-Couette (TC) setup was designed and fabricated to examine the abovementioned polymers for drag reduction, and to demonstrate that turbulent Taylor-Couette testing is a convenient and cost effective analogue for pipe flow drag reduction. Initial experiments were conducted with water as a working fluid and the dimensionless torque was used to scale the torque which compared well with the previous TC studies. Further, the results obtained were found to scale well with the turbulent drag in wall bounded shear flows (such as pipe/channel flow). Using TC flow, commercial polyacrylamide along with polysaccharides such as aloe vera, pineapple fibers, tamarind powder and cellulose nano crystals (CNC) were studied for DR. The effect of Reynolds number (Re) and concentration of these high molecular weight polymers was observed. Polysaccharides are environmentally friendly and offer a huge advantage over commercial polymers due to their biodegradable nature. Furthermore, the high molecular weight polymers are also used extensively in oil recovery during hydraulic fracturing for DR. However, due to their long chain length, these polymers get adsorbed on the surface of reservoir, diminishing the effectiveness of fracking. Hence, this study was then extended to Poly-(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM), a thermoresponsive polymer. PNIPAM collapses reversibly beyond 33°C known as Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST), thereby preventing it from getting adsorbed beyond this temperature. In the current study, PNIPAM was synthesized using free radical polymerization and then examined for DR. The effect of concentration of this thermo-responsive polymer, Reynolds number (Re) and temperature on DR was studied. In summary, the current study exploits several polymers such as a commercial drag reducing agent (Polyacrylamide), biodegradable polymers such as polysaccharides, and smart polymers like thermo-responsive polymer for drag reduction. Taylor-Couette flow is utilized as a tool for testing these polymers for DR.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Bhambri, P., & Fleck, B. (2016). Drag Reduction using high molecular weight polymers in Taylor-Couette Flow. International Journal of Mechanical and Production Engineering Research and Development, 6(1), 59–72.

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