Experiments on Tube/Support Interaction With Feedback-Controlled Instability

[+] Author and Article Information
J. Antunes

Laboratorio Nacional de Engenharia e Tecnologia Industrial, Nuclear Energy and Engineering Department, Sacavem, Portugal

F. Axisa

Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEN Saclay), Département de Mécanique et Technologie, Gif sur Yvette, France

M. A. Vento

Laboratorio Nacional de Engenharia e Technologia Industrial, Nuclear Energy and Engineering Department, Sacavem, Portugal

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 114(1), 23-32 (Feb 01, 1992) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2929008 History: Received July 31, 1990; Revised July 29, 1991; Online June 17, 2008


Due to tube-support gaps in heat-exchangers, low-frequency modes may develop and become unstable at comparatively low flow velocities. This kind of linear fluidelastic instability results in a negative modal damping value, which is a function of the flow velocity. The response amplitude of the unstable tubes increases steadily until tube-support impact becomes unavoidable. These extremely nonlinear vibratory motions have a high-risk potential, as tube velocities and impact forces can be of very considerable magnitude. This paper reports results on a series of laboratory experiments, intended to validate nonlinear calculations on vibro-impact dynamics of heat exchanger tube bundles under fluidelastic instability. The test model was designed for unidirectional motion and the results obtained should be fairly representative of the actual behavior of the U-bend portion of the heat exchanger tube bundles. The system instability is generated by a velocity feedback loop. This method presents significant advantages due to simplicity of the setup and the controllability of the system parameters, in particular concerning the negative damping ratio of the unstable model. A comparison of experimental and computed system dynamics is presented for several values of the instability growth rate and for various initial conditions of the motion. Influence of other parameters, such as tube-support gap magnitude and gap symmetry, is asserted for realistically ranged values. Results show that several steady motion regimes may arises, depending on the system parameters and initial conditions of the motion, which is a fact of engineering significance. Furthermore, a satisfactory qualitative and quantitative agreement was obtained between theoretical predictions and test data.

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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