Tubes in shell-and-tube heat exchangers, including nuclear plant steam generators, derive their support from longitudinally positioned tube support plates (TSPs). Typically, there is a clearance between the tube and TSP hole. Depending on design and fabrication tolerances, the tube may or may not contact all of the TSPs. Non-contact results in an inactive TSP which can lead to detrimental flow-induced tube vibrations under certain conditions dependent on the resulting tube-TSP interaction dynamics and the fluid excitation forces. The purpose of this study is to investigate the tube-TSP interaction dynamics. Results of an experimental study of damping and natural frequency as functions of tube-TSP diametral clearance and TSP thickness are reported. Calculated values of damping ratio and frequency of a tube vibrating within an inactive TSP are also presented together with a comparison of calculated and experimental quantities.

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