A simple criterion is proposed to estimate fretting-wear damage in heat exchanger tubes with clearance supports. The criterion is based on parameters such as vibration frequency, mid-span vibration amplitude, span length, tube mass and an empirical wear coefficient.

It is generally accepted that fretting-wear damage is proportional to a parameter called work-rate. Work-rate is a measure of the dynamic interaction between a vibrating tube and its supports. Due to the complexity of the impact-sliding behavior at the clearance-supports, work-rate calculations for heat exchanger tubes require specialized non-linear finite element codes. These codes include contact models for various clearance-support geometries. Such non-linear finite element analyses are complex, expensive and time consuming. The proposed criterion uses the results of linear vibration analysis (i.e., vibration frequency and mid-span vibration amplitude due to turbulence) and does not require a non-linear analysis. It can be used by non-specialists for a quick evaluation of the expected work-rate, and hence, the fretting-wear damage of heat exchanger tubes.

The proposed criterion was obtained from an extensive parametric study that was conducted using a non-linear finite element program. It is shown that, by using the proposed work-rate criteria, work-rate can be estimated within a factor of two. This result, however, requires further testing with more complicated flow patterns.

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