Free vibration and stability of a fully submerged pipe aspirating water: An experiment and new physical insights

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Dynamic stability due to internal axial flow is a considerable problem for a pipe conveying fluid such as deep seawater intaking for an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant. However, there has been much ambiguity about its dynamics, and this raises a question about whether such an aspirating pipe submerged in water flutters or not. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to provide an experiment to take a new look at the dynamics of pipe aspirating fluid (water). The experimental apparatus is constructed to eliminate expected disturbances, and we measure free damped vibrations of a submerged 4 m length pipe with internal flow. As a result, we observe the nonlinear and non-planar behavior, however, the pipe converges to the zero point and remains stable at a maximum velocity of 1.66 m/s. Subsequently, we review existing theoretical models, and present a comparison with the results from the tank experiment. In addition, we provide a new model of the inlet flow field, which plays an important role on stability, considering the flow separation and jet formed inside of the pipe entrance. This equation is solved by FEM for time integration and eigenvalue analysis, and the results seem to reproduce the experimental natural period and amplitude of the free vibration with internal flow. The model also suggests that an aspirating pipe submerged in water does not flutter up to the maximum flow velocity attainable in the experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103789
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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