This paper addresses a practical problem: “What portion of fairing or strake coverage may be lost or damaged, before the operator must take corrective measures?” This paper explores the effect of lost fairings (the exposure length) on Vortex-Induced Vibration (VIV) of flexible cylinders. The source of data is a recent model test, conducted by SHELL Exploration and Production. A 38m long pipe model with varying amounts of fairings was tested. Response as a function of percent exposure length is reported. Unexpected results are also reported: (i) the flexible ribbon fairings used in the experiment did not suppress VIV at speeds above 1 m/s; (ii) Above 1 m/s, a competition was observed between VIV excited in the faired and bare regions of the cylinder, (iii) Unusual traveling wave behavior was documented—waves generated in the bare region periodically changed direction, and exhibited variation in VIV response frequency.
The results of these tests showed that (1) the excitation on the bare and faired regions could be identified by frequency, because the faired region exhibited a much lower Strouhal number; (2) as expected, the response to VIV on the bare region increased with exposure length; (3) the response to VIV on the faired region decreased with exposure length.