Because of the gaps between the tubes and support plates, the method of solving flow-induced vibration and wear problems in steam generators must involve nonlinear dynamics and the time domain solution of the differential equations. This paper presents several innovations that make the solution practical for today’s personal computers. The method was used to calculate the critical velocity, and the responses and normal work-rates at critical locations on a tube in a commercial steam generator. In the particular steam generator considered, the critical velocity was found to be insensitive to the tube-to-support plate clearances. Also, if turbulence is the only excitation mechanism, the normal work-rate (and hence the wear-rate) decreases with an increase of the tube-to-support plate clearance. However, in the presence of turbulence and the proposed fluid-elastic mechanism, the normal work-rate increases with the tube-to-support plate clearance, even though the cross-flow velocity remains below the critical velocity.

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