Predicting modal characteristics of a cluster of cylinders in axial flow: From potential flow solutions to coupled CFD–CSM calculations

Date: 29/07/2017
Author: De Ridder, J.; Degroote, J.; Van Tichelen, K.; Vierendeels, J.

Published in: Journal of Fluids and Structures, Vol. 74, 29.07.2017, p. 90-110

External fluid flow has a number of effects on the dynamics of a submersed structure: e.g., a solitary cylinder exposed to an external flow experiences added mass and damping due to the presence of the surrounding fluid. At high axial flow velocities relative to the stiffness of the cylinder, coupled instabilities such as flutter and divergence occur. Compared to a solitary cylinder, a cluster of cylinders also experiences inter-cylinder coupling: pressure perturbations in the fluid due to the movement or acceleration of one cylinder force another cylinder to move. Consequently, the different cylinders can move in organised patterns. In this contribution, modal characteristics of a 7-rod bundle will be predicted by linear theory as well as by coupled CFD–CSM (Computational Fluid Dynamics — Computational Structure Mechanics) calculations. In the first part, fluid forces which lead to coupling of motion are computed with classical potential flow theory and URANS (Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes). Those forces are divided in a contribution in phase with the acceleration and a contribution in phase with the velocity of a cylinder. In the second part, modal characteristics of a 7 cylinder bundle are computed with coupled CFD–CSM simulations. The initial perturbations, which are required for the time-domain simulations come from a simplified structural model, with potential flow coupling between cylinders. The results are compared to linear theory. In the final part, approximations are proposed to predict upper and lower bounds of own frequencies and damping, using calculations with only one cylinder.