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The role of elongational viscosity in the mechanism of drag reduction by polymer additives

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The role of elongational viscosity in the mechanism of drag reduction by polymer additives is investigated qualitatively by means of direct numerical simulations of a turbulent pipe flow. For the polymer solution, a generalised Newtonian constitutive model is utilised in which the viscosity depends on the second and third invariant of the rate-of-strain tensor via an elongation parameter. This elongation parameter is capable of identifying elongational type of regions within the flow. The simulations show that complementary to stretching of the polymers, also compression must be incorporated to have drag reduction, contrary to many suggestions done in the literature on the mechanism which assume that stretching of the polymers is most important.

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den Toonder, J.M.J., Nieuwstadt, F.T.M. & Kuiken, G.D.C. The role of elongational viscosity in the mechanism of drag reduction by polymer additives. Appl. Sci. Res. 54, 95–123 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00864368

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Key words

  • direct numerical simulation
  • drag reduction
  • elongational viscosity
  • flow classification
  • turbulent pipe flow