Tube and shell heat exchangers are commonly used in both fossil and nuclear power plants. The unexpected failure for such components is expensive and potentially dangerous. Of the various excitation mechanisms which can cause excessive tube vibration, fluidelastic instability is the most dangerous and therefore has received the most attention. The present study reviews the experimental work published in the open literature which involves the use of a single flexible tube in a rigid array to study fluidelastic instability. The data are categorized based on the array geometry into four main groups, parallel triangular, normal triangular, rotated square, and square array patterns. It is concluded from this review that the simplification of using a single flexible tube in a rigid array to study fluidelastic instability should be done with great care, and precise control of some parameters is essential to obtain reliable and repeatable results. Fluidelastic instability of a single flexible tube in a rigid array may occur in some cases, and may be used to improve our understanding of the phenomenon. However, it must be noted that this behavior is a special case and not generally useful for determining the stability of tube arrays.

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