Investigating the Effectiveness of Aloe Vera Mucilage in Drag Reduction

Main Article Content

Abdallah M. N


Drag reduction is the deliberate reduction of the frictional pressure drop experienced in flow systems by the addition of heavy molecular weight polymeric materials as well as other means such as pipeline modifications. The need for environmental friendly and cheaper heavy molecular weight polymeric drag reducing agents (DRAs) has become a necessity in the transportation of fluids particularly in the oil and gas industry. However, very few reports exist on the potentials of natural polymers such as extracts from the Aloe Vera plant. In this study, the effects of Reynolds number (mixture velocity) and polymer concentration on the drag reduction effectiveness of Aloe Vera mucilage were tested. An experimental flow facility of uPVC pipe of 20 mm ID was constructed using oil [diesel] (density = 832 kg/m3, dynamic viscosity = 1.664 mPa.s at 25oC) and water (density = 1000 kg/m3, dynamic viscosity = 0.891 mPa.s at 25oC) as test fluids. Concentration range of 50 ppm to 500 ppm and Reynolds numbers less than 60000 were investigated while pressure drop readings were measured using a U-tube manometer. These pressure variations were used to show the effectiveness of the Aloe Vera mucilage as a DRA. In single phase water flow, a maximum drag reduction of 50% (U = 1.683 m/s) was achieved in horizontal pipeline flow. Maximum drag reduction of 42.86% (α = 25%, Umix = 1.683 m/s) was observed in multiphase flow. Pipe inclination had minimal effect on the drag reduction. It was deduced that Aloe Vera mucilage can be used as a drag reducing agent in oil-water flows. However, it is recommended that the synergistic effect of the mucilage be further studied, as it is indeed a viable bio-degradable alternative to synthetic polymers.

Article Details