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The effect of varying the structural mode excitation on bending-dominated flexible cylinders undergoing vortex-induced vibrations was investigated. The response of the bending-dominated cylinders was compared with the response of a tension-dominated cylinder using multivariate analysis techniques. Experiments were conducted in a recirculating flow channel with a uniform free stream with Reynolds numbers between 650 and 5500. Three bending-dominated cylinders were tested with varying stiffness in the cross-flow and in-line directions of the cylinder in order to produce varying structural mode shapes associated with a fixed 2:1 (in-line:cross-flow) natural frequency ratio. A fourth cylinder with natural frequency characteristics determined through applied axial tension was also tested for comparison. The spanwise in-line and cross-flow responses of the flexible cylinders were measured through motion tracking with high-speed cameras. Global smooth-orthogonal decomposition was applied to the spatio-temporal response for empirical mode identification. The experimental observations show that for excitation of low mode numbers, the cylinder is unlikely to oscillate with an even mode shape in the in-line direction due to symmetric drag loading, even when the system is tuned to have an even mode at the expected frequency of vortex shedding. In addition, no mode shape changes were observed in the in-line direction unless a mode change occurs in the cross-flow direction, implying that the in-line response is a forced response dependent on the cross-flow response. The results confirm observations from previous field and laboratory experiments, while demonstrating how structural mode shape can affect vortex-induced vibrations.


Ersegun D. Gedikli and Jason M. Dahl are both from the Department of Ocean Engineering. David Chedlize from the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering.