Abstract

Fluidelastic instability (FEI) is well known to be a critical flow-induced vibration concern for the integrity of the tubes in nuclear steam generators. Traditionally, this has been assumed to occur in the direction transverse to the direction of flow but the tube failures at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Los Angeles proved that this assumption is not generally valid. A simple tube-in-channel theoretical model was previously developed to predict streamwise as well as transverse FEI in a parallel triangular tube array. This predicted that this array geometry was particularly sensitive to streamwise FEI for high mass-damping parameters and small pitch ratios, the conditions in which the SONGS failures occurred. The advantage of this simple modelling approach is that no new empirical data are required for parametric studies of the effects of tube pattern and pitch ratio on FEI. The tube-in-channel model has been extended to in-line square, normal triangular and rotated square tube arrays and the stability of these geometric patterns are analyzed for the effects of varying pitch ratio and the mass-damping parameter. The results are compared with the available experimental data and conclusions are drawn regarding the relative vulnerability of these different tube array geometries to streamwise FEI.

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