Despite the existence of many correlations to predict the friction pressures of fracturing fluids, there is little understanding of the effects of viscoelastic properties on this behavior. One reason for the relative lack of understanding of this problem is that the interactions between the turbulent velocity fluctuations and the viscoelastic fluid properties that cause the observed friction pressures are extremely complex. As a result, there are no theoretically-based methods for either pipe diameter scale-up or friction pressure predictions for fracturing fluids.

This paper presents an attempt to predict turbulent friction pressures of fracturing fluids by extending results of a numerical simulation for viscoelastic fluids found in the literature. The literature work provides near-wall velocity profiles for two viscoelastic fluid models. These profiles are integrated to generate friction factor versus Reynolds number expressions with the Deborah number as a parameter. Comparison to available data shows good agreement but requires an independent calculation for the Deborah number. Calculations using three Deborah number correlations yield inconsistent results. The lack of agreement between the theory and the data suggests increased modeling sophistication is needed to predict friction pressures of fracturing fluids in turbulent pipe flow.

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