Skip to main content

Preparation of microencapsulated α-olefin drag reducing polymer used in oil pipeline transportation


Microcapsules containing oil drag-reducing polymer particles were prepared by melting-scattering and condensing of polyethylene wax, in-situ polymerization of urea and formaldehyde, and interfacial polymerization of styrene respectively. The related processes were studied by a molecular dynamics simulation method, and molecular design of microcapsule isolation agent was carried out on the basis of the simulation. The technologies for preparing microencapsulated oil drag-reducing polymer particles were compared and the circulation drag reducing efficiency of the microencapsulated polymer particles was evaluated based on the characterization results and their dissolution properties. Molecular design of a microcapsule isolation agent suggests that α-olefin polymer particles can be stably dispersed in water by using long-chain alkyl sodium salt surfactant which can prevent the agglomeration of α-olefin polymer particles. The results of simulation of the adsorption process shows that the amount of alkyl sodium salt surfactant can directly affect the stability of microencapsulated α-olefin polymer particles. and there must be a minimum critical amount of it. After characterization of the morphology by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and comparison of the static pressure stability, especially the conditions of reaction and technological control of microcapsules with different shell materials, microencapsulation of α-olefin polymer particles with poly-(urea-formaldehyde) as shell material was selected as the optimum scheme, because it can react under mild conditions and its technological process can be controlled in a large range. The relationship of drag reducing rate and dissolving time of microcapsules showed that the formation of microcapsules did not affect the maximum drag reducing rate, and the drag reducing rate of each sample can reach about 35% along with the dissolving time, i.e. microencapsulation did not affect the drag reducing property of α-olefin polymer.


  • An Q Q, Hu S J, Wang Y P, et al. Preparation of Mesoporous Silica SBA-15/hyperbranched polyurethane hybrids and its structure and properties. Journal of Materials Engineering. 2008. (10): 374–377 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhagat G C and Rochester N Y. Rotary brush development. U.S. Patent. 1974. 3357402

  • Burger E D, Chorn L G and Perkins T K. Studies of drag reduction conducted over a broad range of pipeline conditions when flowing Prudhoe bay crude oil. Journal of Rheology. 1980. 24(5): 603–626

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burger E D, Munk W R and Wahl H A. Flow increase in the trans Alaska pipeline flow using a polymeric drag reducing additive. SPE. 1980. 9419(9): 35–42

    Google Scholar 

  • Cuenca F G, Marin M G and Diaz M B F. Energy-savings modeling of oil pipelines that use drag-reducing additives. Energy Fuels. 2008. 22(5): 3293–3298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guan Z Y, Li G P, Zhao L Y, et al. A worldwide development in DRA study. Oil & Gas Storage and Transportation. 2001. 20(6): 1–4 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Gyr A and Tsinober A. On the rheological nature of drag reduction phenomena. J. Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech. 1997. 73(2): 153–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hu T N. Applied experiments on drag reducer in home oil transportation pipelines. Oil & Gas Storage and Transportation. 1997. 16(6): 11–14 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • John D C, Rolla M and Gifford G M. Method of friction loss reduction in oleaginous fluids flowing through conduits. U.S. Patent. 1972. 3692676

  • Labude K M, Smith K W and Johnston R L. Drag reducing polymer suspensions. U. S. Patent. 2004. 6565053

  • Li G P, Yang R and Wang K H. The new research and production development of drag reducing agent in China and abroad. Oil & Gas Storage and Transportation. 2000. 19(1): 3–7 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Macedo E N and Maneschy C E. Analysis of the mass transfer entry region for drag-reducing viscoelastic fluids in turbulent pipe flow. Int. Comm. Heat Mass Transfer. 2000. 27(1): 59–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meier D J, Cerrito E C and Kruka V R. Method and composition for reducing the frictional drag of flowing fluids. U.S. Patent. 1974. 3801508

  • Milligan S M and Smith K W. Drag-reducing polymers and drag-reducing polymer suspensions and solutions. U.S. Patent. 2000. 6576732

  • Pang M J and Wei J J. Progress in the study on turbulent flows of drag reducing surfactant solutions. Advances in Mechanics. 2010. 42(2): 129–146 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Ram A and Kadim A. Shear degradation of polymer solutions. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 1970. 14(8): 2145–2156

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Song Z Z, Zhang X J and Ge J J. Research Situation of Crude Drag Reducing Agent. Oil-Gasfield Surface Engineering. 2000. 19(6): 7–9 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang Y L and Dai J L. Drag reducing polymers: structure/property relationship. Oilfield Chemistry. 1990. 7(1): 98–106 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Xu C, Li Y S, Wu H H, et al. Experimental study on drag reduction of surfactant. Oil & Gas Storage and Transportation. 2010. 29(2): 124–127 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Xu Z H. Preparation of microcapsules and its application. New Chemical Materials. 2005. 33(11): 78–81 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Changqiao Zhang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Li, B., Xing, W., Dong, G. et al. Preparation of microencapsulated α-olefin drag reducing polymer used in oil pipeline transportation. Pet. Sci. 8, 99–107 (2011).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • α-olefin polymer
  • molecular design
  • coating material
  • microcapsule preparation
  • stability and solubility
  • drag reducing property