Interactions between drag reducing polymers and surfactants
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Drag reduction in turbulent pipe flow using polymeric and surfactant additives is well known. Although extensive research work has been carried out on the drag reduction behavior of polymers and surfactants in isolation, little progress has been made on the synergistic effects of combined polymers and surfactants. In this work the interactions between drag-reducing polymers and surfactants were studied. The drag-reducing polymers studied were nonionic polyethylene oxide (referred to as PEO) and anionic copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acrylate (referred to as CPAM). The drag-reducing surfactants studied were nonionic ethoxylated alcohol - Alfonic 1412-7 (referred to as EA), cationic surfactant - Octadecyltrimethylammonium chloride in pure powder form (referred to as OTAC-p) and commercial grade cationic surfactant - Octadecyltrimethylammonium chloride in isopropanol solvent - Arquad 18-50 (referred to as OTAC-s). The interactions between polymers and surfactant were reflected in the measurements of the physical properties such as electrical conductivity, surface tension, viscosity and turbidity. The critical micelle concentration (cmc) of the mixed polymer / surfactant system was found to be different from that of the surfactant alone. The viscosity of a polymer solution was significantly affected by the addition of surfactant. Weak interactions were observed for the mixed systems of nonionic polymer - nonionic surfactant and anionic polymer - nonionic surfactant. Due to the wrapping of polymer chains around the developing micelles, a minimum in the viscosity is observed in these two cases. In the case of nonionic polymer / cationic surfactant system, the change in the viscosity was found to depend on the polymer concentration (C) and the critical entanglement concentration (C*). When the polymer concentration (C) was less than C* (C < C*), the plot of the viscosity versus surfactant concentration exhibited a minimum. When C > C*, a maximum in the viscosity versus surfactant concentration plot was observed. The interactions between nonionic polymer and cationic surfactant were observed to increase with the increase in temperature. A large drop in the viscosity occurred in the case of anionic-polymer / cationic-surfactant system when surfactant was added to the polymer solution. The observed changes in the viscosity are explained in terms of the changes in the extension of polymeric chains resulting from polymer-surfactant interactions. The anionic CPAM chains collapsed upon the addition of cationic OTAC-p, due to charge neutralization. The presence of counterion sodium salicylate (NaSal) stabilized the cationic surfactant monomers in the solution, resulting in micelle formation at a surfactant concentration well below the concentration where complete charge neutralization of anionic polymer occurred. Preliminary results are reported on the pipeline drag reduction behavior of mixed polymer-surfactant system. The results obtained using combinations of CPAM / OTAC-p in pipeline flow are found to be in harmony with the interaction study. Due to the shrinkage of CPAM chains upon the addition of OTAC-p, the drag reducing ability of CPAM is compromised.
Cite this work
Ketan Prajapati (2009). Interactions between drag reducing polymers and surfactants. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/4758