Water-soluble polymers with high molecular weights are known to decrease the frictional drag in turbulent flow very effectively at concentrations of tens or hundreds of ppm. This drag reduction efficiency of water-soluble polymers is well known to be closely associated with the flow conditions and rheological, physical, and/or chemical characteristics of the polymers added. Among the many promising polymers introduced in the past several decades, this review focuses on recent progress in the drag reduction capability of various water-soluble macromolecules in turbulent flow including both synthetic and natural polymers such as poly(ethylene oxide), poly(acrylic acid), polyacrylamide, poly(N
-vinyl formamide), gums, and DNA. The polymeric species, experimental parameters, and numerical analysis of these water-soluble polymers in turbulent drag reduction are highlighted, along with several existing and potential applications. The proposed drag reduction mechanisms are also discussed based on recent experimental and numerical researches. This article will be helpful to the readers to understand better the complex behaviors of a turbulent flow with various water-soluble polymeric additives regarding experimental conditions, drag reduction mechanisms, and related applications.
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