A Recipe for Optimum Mixing of Polymer Drag Reducers

[+] Author and Article Information
Wagih Abu Rowin

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Sean Sanders

Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Sina Ghaemi

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040109 History: Received March 11, 2017; Revised April 26, 2018


Preparation of large-scale homogeneous solutions of drag reducing polymers requires an appropriate mixing procedure to ensure full disentanglement of the polymer chains without chain scission due to over-mixing. The latter is known as mechanical degradation and reduces the performance of drag reducing polymers. The dominant large-scale mixing parameters including time, impeller type, impeller speed, and impeller-to-tank diameter ratio are investigated to obtain a recipe for maximum mixing with minimum polymer degradation. Three water-based solutions of 100 ppm Superfloc A-110 (flexible structure), Magnafloc 5250 (flexible structure), and Xanthan Gum (rigid structure) are considered. The performance of the mixing parameters for each polymer is evaluated based on the solution viscosity in comparison with the highest viscosity (i.e., optimum mixing) obtained by 2 hours of low-shear mixing of a small-scale polymer solution using a magnetic stirrer. The results demonstrate that optimum large-scale mixing is obtained at shear rate of ~10s-1 after 2 - 2.5 hours of mixing for each of the polymers. This shear-rate is obtained here using a three-blade marine impeller operating at 75 rpm and at impeller - to -tank diameter ratio of 0.5. The resulting polymer solution has the highest viscosity, which is an indication of minimal degradation while achieving maximum mixing. It is also confirmed that chemical degradation due to contact with a stainless steel impeller is negligible.

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