Mechanics and prediction of turbulent drag reduction with polymer additives

Academic Article


  • This article provides a review of recent progress in understanding and predicting polymer drag reduction (DR) in turbulent wall-bounded shear flows. The reduction in turbulent friction losses by the dilute addition of high–molecular weight polymers to flowing liquids has been extensively studied since the phenomenon was first observed over 60 years ago. Although it has long been reasoned that the dynamical interactions between polymers and turbulence are responsible for DR, it was not until recently that progress had been made to begin to elucidate these interactions in detail. These advancements come largely from numerical simulations of viscoelastic turbulent flows and detailed turbulence measurements in flows of dilute polymer solutions using laser-based optical techniques. This review presents a selective overview of the current state of the numerics and experimental techniques and their impact on understanding the mechanics and prediction of polymer DR. It includes a discussion of areas in which our understanding is incomplete, warranting further study.
  • Authors

  • White, Christopher
  • Mungal, M Godfrey
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2008
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • boundary layer
  • flow control
  • shear stress
  • viscoclastic
  • Start Page

  • 235
  • End Page

  • 256
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 1