High fidelity simulation and validation of crossflow through a tube bundle and the onset of vibration

Landon Brockmeyer, Elia Merzari, Jerome Solberg, Kostas Karazis, Yassin Hassan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Flow induced vibrations can be detrimental to all manner of engineering applications with fluid flow. Heat exchangers with bundles of thin tubes experiencing a crossflow are especially susceptible to the unexpected onset of vibration. Heat-exchanger design necessarily involves extensive modeling and testing to ensure that significant vibrations cannot develop for any expected flow conditions. A properly validated numerical simulation can work in conjunction with physical experiments to identify problematic vibrations and allow for rapid iteration of design at relatively low expense. A high-fidelity fluid–structure interaction code has been developed by fully coupling CFD LES/DNS code Nek5000 and CSM code Diablo. The coupled code is used to simulate crossflow through a tube bundle in a geometry recreated after a physical experiment. Validation against this experiment involves comparing the amplitude and frequency spectrum for three different flow velocities. The velocities compared straddle the onset of large magnitude vibrations. The simulation accurately captures the onset of the vibrations with a marginally lower predicted frequency of vibration. When the onset velocity is compensated for the difference in natural frequency, the simulation results closely match the experiment. The continuous nature of the simulation measurements helps illustrate the fluid mechanics behind the pin motion and reveals the front to back propagation of the vibrations as the fluid velocity increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103231
JournalInternational Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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