The flow patterns and bubble characteristics formed during gas–liquid flows in a circular co-flow mini-channel with carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) aqueous solutions are investigated experimentally. The pattern transition and bubble length are elucidated by systematically analyzing the influences of the various factors of the ratio of gas–liquid flow rates, CMC solution mass fraction, and surfactant [sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)] mass fraction. Five kinds of flow regimes, namely, bubbly flow, Taylor flow, Taylor-annular flow, annular flow, and churn flow, are identified visually in the fully developed region of the inlet side of the channel, and a universal flow-regime map in terms of the gas and liquid inlet flow rates is constructed using water, CMC solution, and polyacrylamide solution to cover a broad range of material properties. It is found that the ratio of gas–liquid flow rates has a remarkable influence on the flow pattern transitions. The CMC solution mass fraction and SDS mass fraction can also affect the flow-regime map by varying the flow drag force and surface tension acting on the bubble in the mini-channel. The bubble length increases with the ratio of gas–liquid flow rates but decreases with the increase in the CMC fraction and SDS fraction. Based on consideration of the rheological properties of the liquid, a scaling law of bubble length in a co-flow mini-channel with shear-thinning liquids is developed, and the results predicted by it can agree with the measurement data very well under present conditions.

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