Research Papers: Fundamental Issues and Canonical Flows

Maximum Drag Reduction Asymptote for Surfactant-Based Fluids in Circular Coiled Tubing

[+] Author and Article Information
Ahmed H. Kamel

Associate Professor
School of Business,
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin,
4901 E. University Boulevard, IT 108, Odessa, TX 79762
e-mail: kamel_a@utpb.edu

Subhash N. Shah

Stephenson Chair Professor
Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering,
The University of Oklahoma,
T-301 Sarkeys Energy Center,
100 Boyd Street, Norman, OK 73019-1003
e-mail: subhash@ou.edu

Manuscript received June 17, 2011; final manuscript received October 12, 2012; published online February 22, 2013. Editor: Malcolm J. Andrews.

J. Fluids Eng 135(3), 031201 (Feb 22, 2013) (10 pages) Paper No: FE-11-1252; doi: 10.1115/1.4023297 History: Received June 17, 2011; Revised October 12, 2012

Surfactants are superior to polymers in reducing drag and their advantages are very well established. As drag reducers, several factors, such as concentration, temperature, salinity, shear rate, etc., can affect their behavior. Other unique factors relevant to surfactants may include tubing diameter (scale-up effect), head group structure, counterion, charge, etc. Although, drag reduction envelope is customarily employed to investigate drag reduction phenomena, it is defined only for polymeric fluids in both straight and coiled tubing and for surfactant-based (SB) fluids in straight tubing. No such envelope is available for SB fluids in coiled tubing. The present research aims at experimentally investigating the drag reduction characteristics of the most widely used Aromox APA-T surfactant-based fluids. It is a highly active surfactant used as gelling agent in aqueous and brine base fluids. Flow data are gathered using small and large scale flow loops. Straight and coiled tubing with various sizes (1.27 cm to 7.30 cm o.d.) and curvature ratios (0.01 to 0.031) covering the field application range are utilized. The results show that SB fluids exhibit superior drag reduction characteristics. Their behavior is significantly affected by surfactant concentration, shear, tubing size, and geometry. Higher drag reduction is seen in straight tubing than in coiled tubing and increasing curvature ratio yields higher friction pressure losses. In coiled tubing, SB fluids exhibit better drag reduction characteristics than Shah and Zhou maximum drag reduction (MDR) asymptote for polymeric fluids. Therefore, a new maximum drag reduction asymptote is developed using data gathered in 1.27 cm o.d. tubing. The proposed correlation agrees with Zakin MDR asymptote for SB fluids in straight tubing where the curvature ratio is set to be zero. Employing the proposed correlation, a modified drag reduction envelope can be used to evaluate drag reduction characteristics of SB fluids.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Jonsson, B., Lindman, B., Holmberg, K., and Kronberg, B., 2003, Surfactants and Polymers in Aqueous Solution, 2nd ed., John Wiley and Sons Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
Koch, S., 1997, “Formation of the Shear-Induced State in Dilute Cationic Surfactant Solutions,” Rheol. Acta, 36(6), pp. 639–645. [CrossRef]
Oda, R., Narayanan, J., Hassan, P. A., Manohar, C., Salkar, R. A., Kern, F., and Candau, S. J., 1998, “Effect of the Lipophilicity of the Counterion on the Viscoelasticity of Micellar Solutions of Cationic Surfactants,” Langmuir, 14, pp. 4364–4372. [CrossRef]
Davies, T. S., Ketner, A. M., and Raghavan, S., 2006, “Self- Assembly of Surfactant Vesicle That Transform Into Viscoelastic Wormlike Micelles Upon Heating,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 128(20), pp. 6669–6675. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Samuel, M. M., Card, R. J., Nelson, E. B., Brown, J. E., Vinod, P. S., Temple, H. L., Qu, Q., and Fu, D. K., 1997, “Polymer-Free Fluid for Fracturing Applications,” Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, TX, Paper No. 59478.
Arora, K., 2004, “Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of Flow Micro-Structure Coupling in Viscoelastic Solutions,” Ph.D. thesis, Washington University, St. Louis, MO.
Chang, H. D., and Darby, R., 1983, “Effect of Shear Degradation on the Rheological Properties of Dilute Drag-Reducing Polymer Solutions,” J. Rheol., 27(1), pp. 77–88. [CrossRef]
Savins, J. G., 1967, “A Stress-Controlled Drag-Reduction Phenomenon,” Rheol. Acta, 6(4), pp. 323–330. [CrossRef]
Berger, S. A., Talbot, L., and Yao, L. S., 1983, “Flow in Curved Pipes,” Ann. Rev. Fluid Mech., 15, pp. 461–512. [CrossRef]
Gasljevic, K., and Matthys, E. F., 1996, “Field Test of a Drag Reducing Surfactant Additive in the Hydronic Cooling System,” Proc. of the ASME Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting, San Diego, CA, Vol. 237, pp. 249–260.
Savins, J. G., 1964, “Drag Reduction Characteristics of Solutions of Macromolecules in Turbulent Pipe Flow,” SPE J., 4(3), pp. 203–214. [CrossRef]
Gupta, D. V., Leshchyshyn, T. T., and Hlidek, B. T., 2005, “Surfactant Gel Foam/Emulsions: History and Field Application in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin,” SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, TX, Paper No. 97211. [CrossRef]
Drew, T. B., Koo, E. C., and McAdams, W. H., 1932, “The Friction Factor for Clean Round Pipes,” Trans. AIChE J., 28, pp. 56–72.
Srinivasan, P. S., Nandapurkar, S. S., and Holland, F. A., 1970, “Friction Factors for Coils,” Trans. Inst. Chem. Engr., 48, pp. T156–T161.
Chen, N. H., 1979, “An Explicit Equation for Friction Factor in Pipes,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Fundam, 18, pp. 296–302. [CrossRef]
Zhou, Y., and Shah, S. N., 2006, “New Friction-Factor Correlations for Non-Newtonian Fluid Flow in Coiled Tubing,” SPE Drill. Completion, 21(1), pp. 68–76. [CrossRef]
Virk, P. S., 1975, “Drag Reduction Fundamentals,” AIChE J., 21(4), pp. 625–656. [CrossRef]
Virk, P. S., Mickley, H. S., and Smith, K. A., 1970, “The Ultimate Asymptote and Mean Flow Structure in Toms' Phenomenon,” ASME J. Appl. Mech., 37(2), pp. 488–493. [CrossRef]
Virk, P. S., Wagger, D. L., and Koury, E., 1996, “The Asymptotic Maximum Drag Reduction Induced by Additives in Internal Flows,” Trans. ASME Fluids Engineering Division Conference, 237(2), pp. 261–276.
Zakin, J. L., Myska, J., and Chara, Z., 1996, “New Limiting Drag Reduction and Velocity Profile Asymptotes for Non-Polymeric Additives Systems,” AIChE J., 42(12), pp. 3544–3546. [CrossRef]
Zakin, J. L., Qi, Y., and Zhang, Y., 2003, “Recent Experimental Results on Surfactant Drag Reduction,” Proc. ASME/JSME Joint Fluids Engineering Conference, Honolulu, HI, pp. 729–734. [CrossRef]
Shah, S., and Zhou, Y., 2009, “Maximum Drag Reduction Asymptote of Polymeric Fluid Flow in Coiled Tubing,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 131(1), p. 011201. [CrossRef]
Liu, S., and Masliyah, J. H., 1993, “Axially Invariant Laminar Flow in Helical Pipes With a Finite Pitch,” J. Fluid Mech., 251, pp. 315–353. [CrossRef]
Kamel, A., and Shah, S., 2010, “Scale-Up Correlation for the Flow of Surfactant-Based Fluids in Circular Coiled Pipes,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 132(8), p. 081101. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic diagram for large-scale experimental setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram for small-scale experimental setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Effect of concentration on drag reduction characteristics of SB fluids in 1.27 cm o.d. straight tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Effect of shear rate on drag reduction characteristics in 1.27 cm o.d. straight tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Water data through 1.27 cm o.d. straight and coiled tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Fanning friction factor of water data through large-scale straight tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Fanning friction factor of water data through large-scale coiled tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Drag reduction envelope for SB fluids in straight tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Drag reduction envelope for SB fluids in coiled tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Fanning friction factors at maximum drag reduction for coiled tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Effect of tubing size on drag reduction characteristics of 4% SB fluid in straight tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Effect of curvature ratio on drag reduction behavior of 4% SB fluid in 1.27 cm o.d. coiled tubing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Modified drag reduction envelope of SB fluids in coiled tubing



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In