January 1, 2016.
America has over 2.6 million miles of pipeline for the transportation of energy products, such as liquid petroleum and natural gas. Friction is one of the main sources for energy dissipation at liquid/solid interfaces that limits the transport of a fluid through a cylindrical pipe or tube. In order to make these pipelines more efficient and enhance the flow of these materials, it is necessary to find a coating material that reduces the frictional drag. The ideal material would reduce the drag between the fluid and solid interface while being easily synthesizable on the surface. The goal of this project is to demonstrate ultra-low drag between the liquid/solid interface by exploiting the reduced kinetic friction of graphene, an allotrope of carbon in the form of a honey-comb lattice structure. Graphene has very weak van der Waals forces between layers and very weak out-of-plane bonding, which causes ultra-low kinetic friction and would lower the drag between a fluid and its container. We have successfully synthesized monolayer graphene on high copper pipe using chemical vapor deposition and investigated the fluid flow of two test liquids, water and isopropanol, through those pipes. We have not found consistent results that suggest a reduction or increase in drag in our graphene-coated samples when compared to the uncoated control pipes. Future research will provide the knowledge necessary to synthesize these materials and apply them on an industrial scale.
Fluid Dynamics | Other Physics
San Francisco State University (SFSU)
*This project has been made possible with support from Chevron (www.chevron.com) and the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program.