STV-5 Design of Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchangers to Avoid Flow-Induced Vibration Problems

J. M. Chenoweth

The possibility of flow-induced vibration adds a significant constraint to the design of shell-and-tube heat exchangers along with the obvious process considerations of providing the required heat transfer within allowable pressure drop. For many designs, the shellside flow conditions will not create a vibration problem. However, heat exchangers will experience serious tube vibration and/or acoustic vibration if the combination of flow and geometry is such as to excite fluid/structure or standing wave resonance. Earlier HTRI reports have described vibration problems and how to predict if the will occur. This report examines good engineering practice to avoid vibration problems and describes many features that have been successfully incorporated into heat exchanger designs. It also discusses techniques for solving vibration problems that occur in operating heat exchangers. Some permit continued operation of the plant until the next scheduled shutdown for maintenance and/or overhaul.