An important practical problem in the application and study of drag reduction by polymer additives is the degradation of the polymer, for instance due to intense shearing, especially in recirculatory flow systems. Such degradation leads to a marked loss of the drag-reducing capability of the polymer. Three different polymer types were tested on degradation effects in a closed pipe flow system. The polymers used were Polyox WSR-301, Separan AP-273 and Superfloc A-110, dissolved in water in concentrations of 20 wppm each. The flow system consisted of a 16.3 mm pipe of 4.25 m length. Two different pumps were used: a centrifugal pump and a disc pump. Different solution-preparation procedures were tried and the experiments were performed at different flow rates. Superfloc A-110 proved to be both the most effective drag reducer and most resistant to degradation. Because of very fast degradation, Polyox WSR-301 was found to be unsuitable for being used as a drag reducer in re-circulatory systems. The disc pump proved to be much better suited for pumping the polymer solutions than the centrifugal pump. The degradation curve of the combination Superfloc/disc pump showed a plateau-like region with reasonable drag reduction, which makes it possible to perform (laser Doppler) measurements under nearly constant circumstances during a sufficient time.
Toonder, den, J. M. J., Draad, A. A., Kuiken, G. D. C., & Nieuwstadt, F. T. M. (1995). Degradation effects of dilute polymer solutions on turbulent drag reduction in a pipe flow. Applied Scientific Research, 55(1), 63-82. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00854224