Fluidelastic Instability Modeling of Loosely Supported Multispan U-Tubes in Nuclear Steam Generators Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Steam generators in nuclear power plants have experienced tube failures caused by flow-induced vibrations. Two excitation mechanisms are responsible for such failures; random turbulence excitation and fluidelastic instability. The random turbulence excitation mechanism results in long-term failures due to fretting-wear damage at the tube supports, while fluidelastic instability results in short-term failures due to excessive vibration of the tubes. Such failures may require shutdowns, which result in production losses, and pose potential threats to human safety and the environment. Therefore, it is imperative to predict the nonlinear tube response and the associated fretting-wear damage to tubes due to fluid excitation. In this paper, a numerical model is developed to predict the nonlinear dynamic response of a steam generator with multispan U-tubes and anti-vibration bar supports, and the associated fretting wear due to fluid excitation. Both the crossflow turbulence and fluidelastic instability forces are considered in this model. The finite element method is utilized to model the vibrations and impact dynamics. The tube bundle geometry is similar to the geometry used in CANDU steam generators. Eight sets of flat-bar supports are considered. Moreover, the effect of clearances between the tubes and their supports, and axial offset between the supports are investigated. The results are presented and comparisons are made for the parameters influencing the fretting-wear damage, such as contact ratio, impact forces, and normal work rate. It is clear that tubes in loose flat-bar supports have complex dynamics due to a combination of geometry, tube-to-support clearance, offset, and misalignment. However, the results of the numerical simulation along with the developed model provide new insight into the flow-induced vibration mechanism and fretting wear of multispan U-tubes that can be incorporated into future design guidelines for steam generators and large heat exchangers.

publication date

  • February 1, 2013