High friction between a fluid and a pipe wall results in increased pumping requirements. This friction contributes to lower production rates and reduced system capacity. Thermal heating, fluid blending, and drag reducing agents (DRA) are commonly used methods for decreasing pressure drop in pipelines. Surface patterns inscribed onto internal pipe walls have also been shown to reduce fluid friction.
In this paper, the effects of different surface patterns on the shear between a fluid and a wall are studied. Surfaces with different dimple patterns are investigated. Micro-dimpled patterns on the surface are created using an inclined, flat end micro-milling tool. The surfaces with different dimpled patterns are characterized and tested through morphological, contact angle, and viscosity measurement studies. The effects of the surface patterns are also studied through simulation. A Power Law relationship and apparent fluid viscosity is determined for the low Reynolds numbers investigated. The deepest dimpled surfaces investigated (0.2 mm dimple depth) result in a drag reduction of approximately 20% for silicone oil. Further research and application of the results to transmission pipeline systems are discussed.