The time delay is a key parameter for modeling fluidelastic instability, especially the damping controlled mechanism. It can be determined experimentally by measuring directly the time lag between the tube motion and the induced fluid forces. The fluid forces may be obtained by integrating the pressure field around the moving tube. However, this method faces certain difficulties in two-phase flow since the high turbulence and the non-uniformity of the flow may increase the randomness of the measured force. To overcome this difficulty, an innovative method for extracting the time delay inherent to the quasi-steady model for fluidelastic instability is proposed in this study.

Firstly, experimental measurements of unsteady and quasi-static fluid forces (in the lift direction) acting on a tube subject to two-phase flow were conducted. The unsteady fluid forces were measured by exciting the tube using a linear motor. These forces were measured for a wide range of void fraction, flow velocities and excitation frequencies. The experimental results showed that the unsteady fluid forces could be represented as single valued function of the reduced velocity (flow velocity reduced by the excitation frequency and the tube diameter).

The time delay was determined by equating the unsteady fluid forces with the quasi-static forces. The results given by this innovative method of measuring the time delay in two-phase flow were consistent with theoretical expectations. The time delay could be expressed as a linear function of the convection time and the time delay parameter was determined for void fractions ranging from 60% to 90%.

Fluidelastic instability calculations were also performed using the quasi-steady model with the newly measured time delay parameter. Previously conducted stability tests provided the experimental data necessary to validate the theoretical results of the quasi-steady model. The validity of the quasi-steady model for two-phase flow was confirmed by the good agreement between its results and the experimental data. The newly measured time delay parameter has improved significantly the theoretical results, especially for high void fractions (90%). However, the model could not be verified for void fractions lower or equal to 50% due to the limitation of the current experimental setup. Further studies are consequently required to clarify this point. Nevertheless, this model can be used to simulate the flow induced vibrations in steam generators’ tube bundles as their most critical parts operate at high void fractions (≥ 60%).

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