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Demystifying flow induced vibration in the process industry

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Flow induced vibration (FIV) is often seen as engineering's 'dark art'. But with vibration often leading to excessive levels of ambient noise and an increased rate of fatigue damage, commissioning your new process plant or plant upgrade to find it riddled with FIV is more than simply inconvenient. Getting it wrong can be costly for your organisation, resulting in plant downtime, retrofit costs or permanent reductions in throughput. However, there are practical steps that you can take to de-risk the design of new plant, help diagnose and fix operational issues and ensure that you get it right first time.

There are two main reasons which underpin the challenge of avoiding FIV on process plant. Firstly, the underlying physics is complicated and encompasses a number of different and coupled mechanisms. The challenge is to work out which ones are important and which ones are not within a given system. Secondly, FIV spans a number of engineering disciplines; making it difficult to identify who owns it during both design and operations, and more complicated to solve issues when they do arise.

Frazer-Nash holds a number of key roles on industry committees and joint industry projects tasked with improving the understanding of FIV. We combine this knowledge with the technical expertise of our fluid dynamics, noise and vibration and mechanical integrity group to help you solve your vibration issues. 

We can help your company to:

  • Quickly appraise concept or detailed designs for FIV risk, using established screening tools
  • Conduct detailed numerical modelling to quantify the cost, benefit and risk trade-offs when using standard design protocols, to avoid FIV becoming uneconomic
  • Advise on design and operational strategies to minimise FIV risk and to alleviate vibration on existing plant
  • Identify the root causes of excessive vibration or vibration related failures, through forensic assessment using a combination of plant data analysis and numerical modelling
  • Scope and conduct plant vibration measurement campaigns to understand FIV issues.

Vibration is never wanted and rarely foreseen, and in our experience it is rare that a single assessment approach can solve a vibration issue outright. However, often our ability to blend modelling, data analysis and measurement into a holistic approach tailored to the specific problem proves to be key to demystifying the dark art of FIV.

For more information, contact Martin Concannon on 01925 404062, email