Molecular insight into the possible mechanism of drag reduction of surfactant aqueous solution in pipe flow

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Abstract

The phenomenon of drag reduction (known as the “Toms effect”) has many industrial and engineering applications, but a definitive molecular-level theory has not yet been constructed. This is due both to the multiscale nature of complex fluids and to the difficulty of directly observing self-assembled structures in nonequilibrium states. On the basis of a large-scale coarse-grained molecular simulation that we conducted, we propose a possible mechanism of turbulence suppression in surfactant aqueous solution. We demonstrate that maintaining sufficiently large micellar structures and a homogeneous radial distribution of surfactant molecules is necessary to obtain the drag-reduction effect. This is the first molecular-simulation evidence that a micellar structure is responsible for drag reduction in pipe flow, and should help in understanding the mechanisms underlying drag reduction by surfactant molecules under nonequilibrium conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7573
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Volume22
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 2

Keywords

  • Coarse-grained molecular simulation
  • Drag reduction
  • Self-assembly
  • Surfactant molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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