The phenomenon of fluidelastic instability forms a major limitation on the performance of tube and shell heat exchangers. It is believed that fluidelastic instability is attributed to two main mechanisms; the first is called the “Damping Mechanism”, while the second is called the “Stiffness Mechanism”. It is established in the literature that in order to model the damping controlled fluidelastic instability, a finite time delay between tube vibration and fluid response has to be introduced. Experimental investigation of the time delay between structural motion and the induced fluid forces is detailed in the present study. A parallel triangular tube array consisting of seven rows and six columns of aluminum tubes is built with a pitch ratio of 1.54. Hot-wire measurements of the interstitial flow perturbations are recorded while monitoring the tube vibrations in the lift and drag directions. Pressure transducers are installed inside the instrumented tubes to monitor the fluid forces. The phase lag between tube vibration and flow perturbation is obtained at different locations in the array. The effect of tube frequency, turbulence level, location of measurements, and mean gap velocity on the relative phase values is investigated. It is found that there are two well-defined regions of phase trends along the flow channel. It is concluded from this study that the time delay between tube vibration and downstream flow perturbation is associated with the vorticity convection downstream, while the time delay for upstream perturbations is associated with the effect of flow separation and vorticity generation which is propagated upstream from the vibrating tube.

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