Suppression of Flow-Induced Vibrations Using Ribbon Fairings

Suppression of Flow-Induced Vibrations Using Ribbon Fairings

John M. Niedzwecki Sam M. Fang

Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

| |
| | Citation



An experimental study was conducted to investigate the ability of ribbon fairings to suppress flow-induced vibrations on a long flexible horizontal cylinder. The test matrix included towing the cylinder at various speeds, towing the cylinder in regular waves, and investigating the influence of partial coverage on the response behavior. The test cylinder was 29 m long with a length to diameter (L/D) ratio of ~760. Interior to the tensioned cylinder model were six sets of unequally spaced biaxial accelerometers in a lightly pressurized environment keeping the interior dry. A string potentiometer was externally attached at the center of the model to provide a reference for later displacement estimates based on integration of the acceleration data. The time domain decomposition method (TDD) was used to recover mode shapes, damping characteristics, and modal contribution factors. For the uniform current cases, the findings illustrate that ribbon fairings are effective and provide increased damping when compared with bare cylinders. Partial coverage demonstrates that localized suppression becomes increasingly less effective as the percentage coverage is reduced. The introduction of regular waves to the towed cylinder cases illustrates the ineffectiveness of ribbon fairing to suppress the orbital motions induced by the waves, which is preferable to the amplification typically observed for airfoil fairings.


Combined current and regular waves, horizontal flexible towed cylinder, ribbon fairings, time domain decomposition, uniform currents, vortex-induced vibrations


[1] Zdravkovich. M.M., Review and classifi cation of various aerodynamic and hydrodynamic means for suppressing vortex shedding. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 7(2), pp. 145–189, 1981. doi:

[2] Every, M.J., King, R. & Weaver, D.S., Vortex-excited vibrations of cylinders and cables and their suppression. Ocean Engineering, 9(2), pp. 135–157, 1982. doi:

[3] Kumar, R.A., Sohn, C.H. & Gowda, B.H.L., Passive control of vortex-induced vibrations: An overview. Recent Patents on Mechanical Engineering, 1, pp. 1–11, 2008. doi:

[4] Blevins, R.D., 1990, Flow Induced Vibration, 2nd edn., Van Nostrand Reinhold: NY.

[5] Allen, D.W., Henning, D.L. & Lee, L., Drilling Riser Fairing Tests at Prototype Reynolds Numbers. Proc. of the 26th Int. Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Artic Engineering, San Diego, CA, OMAE Paper No. 29219, 2007.

[6] Slocum, S.T., Ding, Z.J. & Frank, W.R., Flutter Instability in Riser Fairings, Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, OTC Paper No. 16342, 2004.

[7] Every, M.J. & King, R., Suppression Flow Induced Vibrations – An Experimental Comparison of Clamp-on Devices, RHRA Report RR 1576, 1979.

[8] Owen, J.C. & Bearman, P.W., Passive control of VIV with drag reduction. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 15, pp. 597–605, 2001. doi: s.2000.0358

[9] Brown, A.J. & King, R., Tests with a Flexible Quasifairing to Reduce Riser Drag, Suppress VIV and Limit Drilling Down-Time, Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, OTC Paper No.19161, 2008.

[10] Ding, Z.J., Balasubramanian, S., Lokken, R.T. & Yung, T.W., Lifting and Damping Characteristics of Bare and Straked Cylinders at Riser Scale, Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, OTC Paper No. 16341, 2004.

[11] Frank, W.R., Tognarelli, M.A., Slocum, S.T., Campbell, R.B. & Balasubramanian, S.,“Flow-Induced Vibration of a Long, Flexible, Straked Cylinder in Uniform and Linearly Sheared Currents,” Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, OTC Paper No.16340, 2004.

[12] Vandiver, J.K., Swithenbank, S. & Jaiswal, V., The Effectiveness of Helical Strakes in the Suppression of High Mode Number VIV, Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, OTC Paper No. 18276, 2006.

[13] Kwon S.H., Cho, J.W., Park, J.S. & Choi, H.S., The effects of drag reduction by ribbons attached to cylindrical pipes. Ocean Engineering, 29, pp. 1945–1958, 2002. doi:

[14] Nakamura, M. & Koterayama, W., A study on cable fairing. Proc. of the 2nd Int. Offshore & Polar Engineering Conference, San Francisco, CA, pp. 301–307, 1992.

[15] Kim, B.H., Stubbs, N. & Park, T., A new method to extract modal parameters using output-only responses. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 282, pp. 215–230, 2005. doi:

[16] Chitwood, J.S., Vortex-induced vibration of a slender horizontal cylinder in currents and waves, OTRC report No. 2/98-A9575, 1998.

[17] Vandiver, J.K., Dimensionless parameters important to the prediction of vortex-induced vibration of long, fl exible cylinders in ocean currents. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 7, pp. 423–455, 2003. doi: s.1993.1028

[18] Ibrahim, S.R. & Mikulcik, E.C., A Method for the direct identifi cation of vibration parameters from the free response. Shock and Vibration Bulletin, 47(4), pp. 183–198, 1977.

[19] Juang, J.N., Applied System Identifi cation, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs: New York, 1994.

[20] Bendat, J.S. & Piersol, A.G., Engineering Applications of Correlation and Spectral Analysis, Wiley: New York, 1980.