This study quantifies degradation of polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polyacrylamide (PAM) polymer solutions in large diameter (2.72 cm) turbulent pipe flow at Reynolds numbers to 3 × 105 and shear rates greater than 105 1/s. The present results support a universal scaling law for polymer chain scission reported by Vanapalli et al. (2006) that predicts the maximum chain drag force to be proportional to Re 3/2, validating this scaling law at higher Reynolds numbers than prior studies. Use of this scaling gives estimated backbone bond strengths from PEO and PAM of 3.2 and 3.8 nN, respectively. Additionally, with the use of synthetic seawater as a solvent the onset of drag reduction occurred at higher shear rates relative to the pure water solvent solutions, but had little influence on the extent of degradation at higher shear rates. These results are significant for large diameter pipe flow applications that use polymers to reduce drag.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 7, 2009
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