Effects of uniform surface roughness on vortex-induced vibration of towed vertical cylinders



Publication Details

Kiu, K. Y., Stappenbelt, B. and Thiagarajan, K. P. (2011). Effects of uniform surface roughness on vortex-induced vibration of towed vertical cylinders. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 330 (20), 4753-4763.


The present study was motivated by a desire to understand the vortex-induced vibration (VIV) of cylindrical offshore structures such as spars in strong currents. In particular, the consequences of marine growth on the surface as well as natural surface roughness that occurs with years in service are studied. Of special interest is the effect of surface roughness on the response amplitudes and the forces experienced by these structures while undergoing VIV.

The experimental apparatus employed for the present study consisted of an elastically mounted rigid vertical cylinder with no end plates, towed along the length of a water tank. The cylinder was attached to a parallel linkage mechanism allowing motion in the transverse direction only. The cylinder surface was covered by sandpapers with known mean particle diameters, thus providing controlled values of roughness coefficient from 0.28×10−3 to 1.38×10−2. The tests covered the subcritical range of Reynolds number from 1.7×104 to 8.3×104, and a reduced velocity range from 4 to 16.

It was found that as the roughness of the cylinder was increased the maximum response amplitude and the maximum mean drag coefficient decreased, levelling off to constant values. The onset of lock-in was progressively delayed for rougher cylinders, and the width of the lock-in region showed remarkable reduction at higher roughness values. The Strouhal number was found to display a modest increase with roughness. The dynamic mean drag of the rough cylinders was also found to be lower than that for a smooth cylinder. It is felt that uniform roughness such as caused in marine environments may act favorably to lower VIV incidence and effects in the range of Reynolds number tested.

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