Research Papers: Techniques and Procedures

A Recipe for Optimum Mixing of Polymer Drag Reducers

[+] Author and Article Information
Wagih Abu Rowin

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada
e-mail: aburowin@ualberta.ca

R. Sean Sanders

Department of Chemical & Materials
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada
e-mail: sean.sanders@ualberta.ca

Sina Ghaemi

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada
e-mail: ghaemi@ualberta.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received March 11, 2017; final manuscript received April 26, 2018; published online May 28, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Francine Battaglia.

J. Fluids Eng 140(11), 111402 (May 28, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: FE-17-1150; 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 (XG) (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 h 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 mean and maximum shear rates of ∼17 s−1 and ∼930 s−1, respectively, after 2–2.5 h 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 complete mixing. It is also confirmed that chemical degradation due to contact with a stainless steel impeller is negligible.

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Fig. 3

Flow pattern generated by (a) marine type and (b) gate type impellers according to Winardi and Yoichi Nagase [29] and Bakker et al. [30]

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of the mixing apparatus for preparation of 18 l of polymer solution at 100 ppm

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the stretching process (a) for rigid rod polymer and (b) for flexible polymer in time under shear stress. The rigid polymer does not evolve while the flexible polymer gradually uncoils to form an elongated structure.

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Fig. 7

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Superfloc A-110 in water for different mixing time using a marine impeller at 75 rpm

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Fig. 8

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of XG in water for different mixing time using a marine impeller at 75 rpm

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Fig. 4

Measurements repeatability for three Magnafloc 5250 solutions mixed with marine impeller for 2:30 h at 75 rpm. The error bars represent peak-to-peak viscosity for three measurements. Carreau–Yasuda model is included for validation [43].

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Fig. 5

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Magnafloc 5250 in water at different mixing times using a magnetic stirrer at 100 rpm

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Fig. 6

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Magnafloc 5250 in water for different mixing time. Mixing is carried out using marine impeller at 75 rpm in 18 l of solution. The error bars show maximum variation based on uncertainty analysis of Fig. 4.

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Fig. 9

Viscosity versus time for the three polymers (Magnafloc 5250, Superfloc A-110, and XG) at average shear rate range of 500–1100 s−1. Mixing is carried out using the marine impeller at 75 rpm.

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Fig. 10

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Magnafloc 5250 in water for different mixing time using a marine impeller at 50 rpm

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Fig. 11

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Magnafloc 5250 in water for different mixing time using a marine impeller at 100 rpm

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Fig. 12

Rheological characterization of 100 ppm of Magnafloc 5250 in water for different mixing time using a marine impeller at 150 rpm

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Fig. 13

Comparison of different mixing rates of 100 ppm Magnafloc 5250 polymer solution using the marine impeller. The average viscosity was estimated for 500–1100 1/s shear-rate range.

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Fig. 14

Comparison of 100 ppm Magnafloc 5250 solutions mixed over 2.5 h using the marine impeller and over 1.5 h using the gate impeller at 75 rpm

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Fig. 15

Comparison between metal and coated impellers. Mixing is carried out on 100 ppm Magnafloc 5250 at 75 rpm over 2.5 h.

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Fig. 16

Average shear rates for different mixing speeds and impeller types for 100 ppm Magnafloc 5250 solution: impeller (A) is the marine impeller and impeller (B) is the gate impeller

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Fig. 17

Maximum shear rates for different mixing speeds for 100 ppm Magnafloc 5250 solution where impeller (A) is the marine impeller



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