The shut-down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) has been attributed to damaging streamwise Fluidelastic Instability (FEI) of the steam generator tubes, a phenomenon which has traditionally been assumed not to occur. This has generated a significant research effort to better understand this phenomenon and to develop appropriate design criteria for its prevention. Most current design codes are based on Connors criterion for FEI which neglects both streamwise FEI and the effects of tube array pattern and pitch ratio. It is becoming clear that array geometry and pitch ratio are important determining factors in FEI, especially in the streamwise direction.
This paper presents an extension of the theory of Lever and Weaver to consider arrays of flexible fluid-coupled tubes which are free to become unstable in both the transverse and streamwise directions. This simplified modelling approach has the advantages of being very tractable for numerical parametric studies and having no need for experimental data input. Previous research by the authors has shown that the predictions of this model agree very well with the available experiments for parallel triangular arrays for both transverse and streamwise FEI. In this paper, the results of such studies are presented for the both transverse and streamwise FEI for square inline and normal triangular arrays and compared with the authors’ previous results for parallel triangular arrays. It is shown that FEI is strongly influenced by array geometry, especially for small pitch ratio arrays operating at low values of the mass damping parameter. The results show good agreement with the available experimental data.