July 2007

Engineering Case Histories

Case 39: Vibration failure of a heat exchanger tube

Flow-induced vibration damage is a commom problem

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

At a recent seminar I presented, several attendees were having vibration problems similar to the type described in this case history. Shell-and-tube heat exchangers can develop tube leaks at the baffles due to wear caused by flow-induced vibration. These show up as grooves in the tubes (Fig. 1).   Fig. 1    Leaks due to wear caused by flow-induced vibration show up as grooves in the tubes. Several vibration sources in exchangers are: Vortex shedding Turbulent buffeting Acoustic vibration Fluid-elastic whirling Combined phenomena. S

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