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Drag reduction by polymer additives in a turbulent pipe flow: numerical and laboratory experiments

  • J. M. J. DEN TOONDER (a1), M. A. HULSEN (a1), G. D. C. KUIKEN (a1) and F. T. M. NIEUWSTADT (a1)

Abstract

In order to study the roles of stress anisotropy and of elasticity in the mechanism of drag reduction by polymer additives we investigate a turbulent pipe flow of a dilute polymer solution. The investigation is carried out by means of direct numerical simulation (DNS) and laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV). In our DNS two different models are used to describe the effects of polymers on the flow. The first is a constitutive equation based on Batchelor's theory of elongated particles suspended in a Newtonian solvent which models the viscous anisotropic effects caused by the polymer orientation. The second is an extension of the first model with an elastic component, and can be interpreted as an anisotropic Maxwell model. The LDV experiments have been carried out in a recirculating pipe flow facility in which we have used a solution of water and 20 w.p.p.m. Superfloc A110. Turbulence statistics up to the fourth moment, as well as power spectra of various velocity components, have been measured. The results of the drag-reduced flow are first compared with those of a standard turbulent pipe flow of water at the same friction velocity at a Reynolds number of Reτ≈1035. Next the results of the numerical simulation and of the measurements are compared in order to elucidate the role of polymers in the phenomenon of drag reduction. For the case of the viscous anisotropic polymer model, almost all turbulence statistics and power spectra calculated agree in a qualitative sense with the measurements. The addition of elastic effects, on the other hand, has an adverse effect on the drag reduction, i.e. the viscoelastic polymer model shows less drag reduction than the anisotropic model without elasticity. Moreover, for the case of the viscoelastic model not all turbulence statistics show the right behaviour. On the basis of these results, we propose that the viscous anisotropic stresses introduced by extended polymers play a key role in the mechanism of drag reduction by polymer additives.

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Present address: Philips Research, Prof. Holstlaan 4, 5656 AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
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Drag reduction by polymer additives in a turbulent pipe flow: numerical and laboratory experiments

  • J. M. J. DEN TOONDER (a1), M. A. HULSEN (a1), G. D. C. KUIKEN (a1) and F. T. M. NIEUWSTADT (a1)

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