In the present work, thermal effects induced in the hydrodynamics of heavy oil transport in pipelines are analyzed. Here, the thermal dependence of the dynamic viscosity and the mechanical heating caused by viscous dissipation are taking into account; therefore, the mathematical models that represent the study are solved in a coupled manner, evaluating at the same time both, the flow field inside of the pipeline, as well as, its corresponding heat transfer processes with respect to the environment. In order to conduct the analysis properly, numerical solutions are obtained in dimensionless way, and three main dimensionless parameters are defined; namely, β, Λ and Br, which represent the ratio of the internal radius to the length of the pipeline, the thermal conductivity for the diffusive heat transfer process in the conjugated system pipeline-thermal insulation (soil), and the Brinkman number associated to the mechanical heating, respectively. The main results reveal that, when heavy oils (extra-viscous fluids) are transported in pipelines, until a small reduction in their temperature generate substantial increment in the dynamic viscosity, and consequently, the flow rate is reduced in comparison with predictions considering a full thermal insulation condition (adiabatic process). Hence, we can conclude that during the transport of heavy oil the heat transfer and its effects over the flow field have to be estimated and controlled, this with the aim of having an efficient transport.

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