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Consulting Services


Machine Dynamics

Flow-Induced Vibrations

Vibration Measurements

BOSpulse - Pulsation Software


Machine Dynamics
DRG provides consulting services and engineering
solutions to solve vibration problems that pose a
hazard to the continuity of the process

Equipment that is part of a piping system can

of mechanical vibrations and the use of dedi-

introduce unwanted vibrations in the piping.

cated software to tackle this complex field of

Pollution or liquid in the gas flow can damage

engineering. DRG combines this with the ne-

the impeller of a compressor and thereby

cessary on-site experience, to find solutions

cause sustained vibrations in the attached pi-

that are most effective and have a minimum

ping. The excessive loading of the discharge

impact on the system in terms of modificati-

or suction nozzle of a pump, due to thermal

ons and costs.

growth of the attached piping, might cause

deformation of the pump house that is be-

Typical machine dynamics pro-

yond the allowed tolerances and so result in


excessive wear of the bearings or a warped

Equipment like motors, pumps, compressors,

shaft. The resulting unbalances will lead to

turbines, mixers, fans and blowers are com-

vibrations in the piping. The effect of these

mon sources for mechanical vibrations. The

events can be a sustained vibration, causing

vibrations can be present in new equipment,

low cycle or high cycle material fatigue of the

but can also develop over time. The vibration

attached piping. Depending on the frequen-

can be mechanically related or be induced by

cy and amplitude of the vibration, failure of

the fluid flow passing through.

the attached piping can occur within days or


Mechanical vibrations are those induced by

unbalanced forces or unwanted reaction for-

Dynaflow Research Group (DRG) has a tho-

ces. Possible causes for mechanical vibrati-

rough understanding of the fundamentals

ons are:

Weight imbalance

Misalignment or deformed housing



A weight imbalance can occur due to manufacturing defects, like machining flaws or
casting errors, or incorrect maintenance, like
deformed or dirty fan blades or missing ba-

lance weights. The weight imbalance gene-

Reciprocating pumps and compressors in-

rates a centripetal force of high oscillating

herently generate pressure pulsations in the

frequency. A misalignment can occur when

suction and discharge lines by their piston

motor and pump axes are improperly instal-

movement. Depending on the specific details

led during assembly or due to shifting com-

of the piping system, like routing and valve

ponents. Rotary equipment is very sensitive

configurations, an acoustic frequency of the

to deformation of the housing. A bad design

piping can be excited and the pulsations will

of the piping that connects to the equip-

be amplified. Likewise, pulsations from the

ment might cause high thermal loads on

blades of a rotary compressor or pump can

the nozzles of the equipment. The resulting

cause pressure fluctuations of the order of

deformation of the housing causes exces-

0.01 percent to 1 percent and excite acoustic

sive wear of the bearings or misalignment of

natural frequencies of the piping system. The

the shaft, causing a vibration problem. Loo-

pressure fluctuations can also cause cavitati-

seness of mounts or bearings amplifies any

ons in the suction lines, which pose a serious

oscillatory forces in the equipment, possibly

threat to the piping.

causing vibrations beyond acceptable limits.

Vibrations with a mechanical origin are most

Flow-induced vibrations are those caused by

often analyzed during the operational phase

pressure fluctuations in the fluid, which can

of a system, when a vibration has actually

either be a gas or a liquid. The most common

been observed. Flow-induced vibrations

causes for flow-induced vibrations, caused by

should preferably be considered during the

machinery, are:

design stage of a system, but can also ade-

Pressure pulsations

Flow turbulence phenomena

Surge phenomena like start/shutdown


quately be analyzed and solved if a vibration

is observed on-site.

Analysis of machine dynamics

The understanding of dynamic problems
and the proper use of dedicated analysis

racteristics of the machinery, can be used to

create a separation with respect to the piping
natural frequencies.

software requires not only a well-developed

On account of the oscillatory nature of many

knowledge of the fundamental principles

machine-related pipe vibrations, harmonic

and theories, but also good familiarity with

excitation analysis is a powerful tool. It ef-

on-site practice; the correct inclusion of non-

fectively identifies the source of the observed

linear effects, like friction and damping, and

vibration, even when several harmonic exci-

installation tolerances at supports are pivotal

tations are present in the system. Once the

for the correct modeling of the dynamics of

adverse vibration source has been identified,

a system. Dynaflow Research Group (DRG)

the harmonic excitation analysis method

has a good understanding of the underlying

enables very specific, and often easy-to-

physics, as well as knowledge of the essen-

implement, solutions to be found, so as to

tial on-site details, that are crucial to drawing

restrain the oscillatory motion of the piping

the correct conclusions and finding solutions


that work.

In cases where pumps or compressors ex-

To examine mechanical vibrations and the ef-

pose the piping to flow turbulence or surge

fect of pressure fluctuations, valuable insights

phenomena, other types of dynamic analy-

can be gained by means of a modal analysis.

ses are more suitable. For instance a pulsa-

This type of analysis is instrumental to revea-

tion analysis or surge analysis may also be

ling the dynamic characteristics of the piping

conducted. One is referred to the related

system by computation of the eigen-modes

chapter Flow Induced Vibrations for more in-

and corresponding eigen-frequencies. A se-

formation about this type of analysis. Based

paration of the structural frequencies of the

on the specifics of a problem, DRG will use its

system and the excitation frequencies can be

broad experience to determine the most ef-

studied by this method. This allows the re-

fective combination of analyses to tackle the

duction of a vibration that is observed on-site

problem at hand.

during the operational phase. In addition,

this method can be used during the design
phase to create a system that is robust with
respect to vibrations. An estimate of the excitation frequency range, based on the cha-



Flow-Induced Vibrations
DRG analyses and consults on flow-induced vibrations, both during the design phase of a system
and to solve vibrations during system operation

Unsteady flow conditions in the contents of a

fects of the flow-induced loads on the pipe

pipe can excite the piping. The flow fluctuati-

stresses. Dynaflow Research Group (DRG)

ons can vary from small pressure pulsations

has extensive experience in the analysis of

to large shock loads. For example, small pres-

flow-related phenomena. DRG has also deve-

sure fluctuations that originate from a chat-

loped the software packages BOSpulse and

tering check valve can be amplified due to an

BOSfluids that are well suited for this type of

unfavorable routing of the piping. The vibra-

analysis. BOSpulse is a package to perform

tion can exist for a sustained period, causing

pulsation and acoustic analyses of compres-

material fatigue in the piping. Slugs that form

sors and pumps. BOSfluids is a package that

in piping due to a two-phase fluid that is fed

is applicable for flow and surge analyses, like

to the system can introduce big shock loads

water hammer analysis or the occurrence of

on piping components. These occasional


loads can result in an immediate pipe failure

or broken support.

Flow-induced dynamic problems

In this chapter all dynamic effects are consi-

Flow-induced vibrations can develop in pi-

dered, varying from sustained vibrations to

ping under transient flow conditions, for

short-duration shock loads that are induced

example when the system changes from one

by pressure fluctuations in the pipe contents.

operating mode to another mode. The ope-

A pulsation or surge analysis, to compute the

ning or closing of a bypass, start-up or shut-

flow-induced loads, is often combined with a

down of equipment or the switch from one

pipe dynamic analysis, which studies the ef-

operating compressor to another one during


Flow-induced vibration

Wind load on chimneys

An external flow over a cylindrical shape



might give rise to vortex-induced vibration.


Chattering valves

Vortex shedding

Slug flow

For example, a pipe, a chimney, or a vertical

Flow turbulence


Pressure relief valve

a continuous process can generate large
pressure surges in the system. Furthermore,
disruptions in a process can lead to very sudden changes in the flow conditions to occur.
The opening of a pressure relief valve or an
emergency stop are examples of such disruptions. These occasional situations raise large
pressure surges, or even shock loads, that
can severely damage the system.

pole of a wind turbine exposed to wind, or a

heat exchanger tube array subjected to the
flow of the process fluid, can develop vortexinduced vibration. Depending on the fluid
velocity and diameter of the cylindrical shape
subjected to the flow, the Strouhal number
of the fluid can lie close to the natural frequency of the cylindrical structure. Under
these circumstances, frequency locking will
result in dangerous resonance of the structure or pipe, with only very limited structural

During the steady operating condition of a

system it might be expected that the piping

Dynamic analysis for flow-induced

is not exposed to flow instabilities, but even


under these circumstances pressure pulsations and even pressure surges or shock loads
can occur. If there is a too high fraction of

Solving a flow-induced vibration problem generally consists of the following two steps:

liquid content in a gas flow, slug loads can


Pulsation analysis / surge analysis

develop in the two-phase flow and expose


Dynamic analysis

the piping to large shock loads. Flow insta-

Rapid pressure fluctuations can be analyzed

bilities in equipment, like the formation of

by means of a pulsation analysis. This type of

vortices in a heat exchanger or a burner, ge-

analysis takes into account the amplification

nerate pressure pulsations in the connected

and reflection of pressure fluctuations due to

piping. Rotary and reciprocating equipment

routing, vitation may also occur. Apart from

are also a common source for pressure pul-

material fatigue that can arise due to the

sations. These pressure pulsations can excite

direct exposure of metal to pressure fluctu-

a natural frequency of the piping. When the

ations, pipe vibration can also arise due to

amplitude of the pressure pulsations is large

enough, capiping components, equipment


and damping effects. The software package

des an insight in the dynamic characteristics

BOSpulse has been developed in-house by

of the piping. Oscillatory pressure pulsations

Dynaflow Research Group (DRG) to analyze

can be analyzed with a harmonic excitation

this type of vibration problem. Using this

analysis. This type of analysis is instrumental

software it can be checked if the pulsation

in finding the source of vibration and can also

frequency coincides with one of the acoustic

effectively be applied to examine possible

natural frequencies. If so, resonance occurs,

structural modifications. By means of a spec-

resulting in amplified pressure fluctuations.

trum analysis, unbalanced loads due to non-

Some equipment can be very sensitive to

oscillatory pressure surges can be examined.

these pulsations. Unbalanced forces that act

The spectral breakdown of the computatio-

on pipe sections are computed from these

nal model into eigen-pairs provides an effec-

pressure fluctuations.

tive tool to gain insight into the dynamics of

Our experience enables us

to select the most effective
combination of flow analyses
A surge analysis is used to study possible
amplified pressure waves and unbalanced
shock loads through the system. Here the re-

the problem and to develop effective solutions. A time-history analysis is an alternative

method to examine non-oscillatory dynamic
loads. It provides a robust and quantitatively
accurate procedure to verify code compliance and examine the effect of proposed modifications.

levant details of the piping system are taken

For some flow-induced phenomena, like slug

into account. BOS- fluids is a software solu-

loads or vortex-induced vibrations, different

tion, developed in-house by DRG, to analyze

approaches exist. Instead of a pulsation or

this common flow problem.

surge analysis, a CFD computation or an ana-

The oscillatory or shock-type unbalanced forces that are computed during the pulsation
or surge analysis can be imported into a piping stress analysis program with dynamic
analysis capabilities, like CAESAR II or PipePlus. With these programs several dynamic
analysis methods can be applied. A modal
analysis reveals the eigen-frequencies and
eigen-shapes of the system, and thus provi-

lytical approach can be applied to compute

the dynamic loads. The stress peaks due to
the dynamic loads, as computed in the second step, can alternatively be computed
with a Finite Element Analysis. Flow-induced
vibration studies can be performed to solve
vibration problems occurring during the
operational phase, but are also performed
during the design phase or the revamp of a



Vibration Measurements
To determine the necessity of mitigation measures and to support computerized vibration analysis, DRG can perform on-site vibration measurements

It is almost unavoidable that some vibration

occurs in piping and equipment while in operation. Pressure pulsations are intrinsically
present because compressors and pumps
drive the flow. Small imperfections in equipment can introduce vibrations in the piping
and pipe fittings. Furthermore valves always
generate a certain level of flow disturbance,
resulting in the presence of small pressure

Vibration measurements is a service that can,

fluctuations. However, a minor level of vibra-

and often is, combined with DRGs other vi-

tion is often acceptable.

bration services.

When a vibration is observed on-site, Dyn-

Necessity for inspections and mea-

aflow Research Group (DRG) is often asked

to perform an on-site inspection and even


vibration measurements. Based on inter-

When an on-site vibration is observed, it is

pretation of the measurement results, DRG

not always obvious if this vibration is within

can determine on a substantiated basis the

the allowable tolerances or whether action

necessity of actions to mitigate the vibration.

must be taken. When the stresses developed

If an analysis is required, the measurement

during the vibration are below the fatigue en-

results serve as input to build and fine-tune

durance limit, material fatigue is not an issue

the analysis model.

and often no action is required. Based on on-



Measurement procedure
To perform a vibration measurement, the
DRG expert is equipped with its own measurement instrument. DRG makes use of
four-channel devices to perform the measurements, enabling DRG to measure the
site vibration measurements performed by a

accelerations in all three orthogonal directi-

DRG expert, it can be determined without an

ons at a given point. With the more common

elaborate modeling phase if a vibration is ac-

one-channel devices, the time-dependencies

ceptable or not. This is achieved by checking

between the three orthogonal directions are

the measured amplitude against a design

lost. The sophisticated four-channel device

code such as the VDI 3842. If the observed

that is used for the vibration measurement

vibration is beyond acceptable limits, an ana-

retains the coupling of axial and lateral dis-

lysis can be applied to determine if material

placements during a vibration. A more accu-

fatigue is an issue and mitigation measures

rate model can therefore be made and the

need to be taken.

best possible conclusions can be drawn.

during the installation phase, and also during

The multidisciplinary nature

of DRG helps to find the rootcause of the observed vibration quickly

maintenance or revisions, that go undocu-

For small bore piping an impact hammer

mented. The contradicting requirements of

analysis can be performed. The piping is

flexibility for static design and often incre-

excitated with the impact hammer at a few

ased stiffness for dynamic design cause that

points along the line and the corresponding

many of these undocumented modifications

accelerations are measured. During the post-

are erroneously thought to be harmless.

processing of the measured data, a Fourier

During a vibration measurement, the DRG

transformation is performed to map the sig-

Small details can have a large impact on the

dynamic analysis of a system. Unfortunately,
many last-minute modifications are made

expert is aware of these issues that can compromise the reliability of the dynamic analysis. Our expert will identify and document
those details that are pivotal for an accurate
analysis following the measurements.



tor. During this phase, possible contributors

to the vibration are identified and the most
critical operating scenarios for the measurements are identified. In consultation with the
system operator, the possibilities to run different operating scenarios will be discussed
prior to the site visit and measurement.
nal from the time domain to the frequency
domain and extract the natural frequencies.

Why Dynaflow Research Group?

These results can be used for fine-tuning and

Dynaflow Research Group (DRG) can com-

verification of an analysis model.

bine measurements with the interpretation

After the measurements have been completed, a report is delivered that contains
the measurement data, results from the
post-processing phase and recommendations. If applicable, outcomes from the vibration measurement are combined with results
from a vibration analysis and form one integral report.
Taking vibration measurements serves as a
good way to find the root-cause of a vibration problem and precedes the analysis by
computerized modeling. DRG experts that
perform the measurements are educated in
a broad range of disciplines, ranging from

and further analysis of your vibration problem. We have extensive practical experience
and knowledge of the authority codes which
enables us to give a substantiated view on
the necessity to take mitigation measures.
Our familiarity with a range of mechanical
and flow disciplines enables DRG to select
the most appropiate operating scenarios for
the most effective vibration measurement.
DRGs multidisciplinary approach also aids a
fast and accurate interpretation of the measurement results and so find the source of
the vibration, whether it is caused by mechanical effects or flow induced.

piping and structures to flow-related and

surge phenomena. The observed vibration is
typically the result of a combination of unfavorable circumstances. To identify the source
of the vibration, the actual measurement will
be preceded by a study of the system, operating data and a discussion with the opera-





An advanced software solution for your pulsation

For years, piping engineers have laboured

with simplifying hand calculations or userunfriendly software products, when in need
of a simple tool to analyse the impact of pulsations upon their piping system.

Model Building is Simple

The model building procedure used in BOSpulse is intuitive, with an input interface that
is similar to that used in piping stress packages and simultaneously shows the model

BOSpulse has been written specifically to ad-

being built in 3-dimensions. Additionally

dress the needs of the piping engineer, who

BOSpulse offers the possibility to import pi-

requires details of the dynamic forces acting

ping layouts which have been built in com-

upon the piping due to pulsations.

mon piping stress packages, such as CAESAR

BOSpulse is an interactive computer simula-

II. BOSpulse contains the elements required

tion package that is able to model the steady

to model all pulsation problems. The ele-

state and transient flow in liquid or gas car-

ments include: valves, pressure relief valves,

rying piping systems. It has been developed

vacuum breakers, pumps, compressors and

in-house by DRG, and has been extensively

surge vessels.

BOSpulse Factsheet

used on projects for our clients. Thus if you

want to evaluate the impact of pumps and
compressors on your piping system, BOSpulse is the ideal tool.

1-D Method of Characteristics solver

3-D visualisation

Pulsation analysis

API 618/674 compliance

Import/export with CAESAR II



basic details of the reciprocating pump or

Alternatively the pulsations from a centrifugal compressor or pump can be simulated
simply within BOSpulse, by using the harmonic boundary condition.

BOSpulse has been written

specifically to address the
needs of the piping engineer
Compression dampeners (bottles) can easily
be modelled in BOSpulse. Within the appropriate module, the geometry of the compression dampener can be inputted. This allows
the compression dampener to be sized and
its ability to alleviate excess pulsations to be

Compressors and Pumps

BOSpulse makes it possible to investigate the
impact of the pulsations due to reciprocating
pumps and compressors. Additionally it is
simple to evaluate solutions, such as compression dampeners or geometric changes,
so as to reduce the amplitude of any excessive pulsations.

checked. To enable the user to observe the

pulsations within the system, BOSpulse features an easy to use graphical output. From
this the user can check, for any point in the
system, if the magnitude of the pulsations is
acceptable. Likewise the influence of different effects on the magnitude of the pulsations can be compared.

The transient waveform due to a reciprocating pump or compressor has a saw tooth
profile. This waveform is the combination
of a number of harmonics of the pump or
compressor rotational frequency. To enable
the user to quickly construct this saw-tooth

API 674/API 618 Factsheet

Reciprocating pumps (API 674)

Reciprocating Compressors (API 618)

Pulsating flow

Design limit for pulsations

waveform, BOSpulse includes a special tool,

To prevent fatigue failures

which constructs the waveform from some

Calculation of unbalanced loads



codes, and the user is presented with an output report to show the conformance with the

Experienced Support
DRG uses BOSpulse extensively for pulsation
analyses within our own work. Thus, should
you have an issue with the BOSpulse package
The output feature of BOSpulse, as well as

or are in need of advice for the best method

being able to plot the results graphically, also

to model a given scenario, the specialists of

has the capability to output the results to a

DRG are always on-hand to provide the best

general purpose file that can be imported

possible support.

into a piping stress package.

Training courses are also available in the use

Special output interfaces

make API 618 and API 674
code compliance checks

of BOSpulse. These are arranged in-house

by DRG and if required a bespoke training
course can be organised to fit client specific

API 618 and API 674 checks

Typically the output from a pulsation study
would be a plot of the variation of pressure
with time for a given point in the system.
However, the allowable pressure amplitude
in the API 618 and API 674 design code is
specified on a frequency basis, and thus it
is necessary to construct a discrete Fourier
To make the code conformance check easier, BOSpulse features built in output procedures which construct the discrete Fourier
spectrum. This is then automatically checked
against either the API 618 or API 674 design



Dynaflow Reseach Group

At Dynaflow Research Group (DRG) we support
our clients, solve their most complex and critical
technical issues

Consulting services


We provide engineering consulting services

DRG offers a wide range of training courses

in all aspects of design and analysis for the

such as software training, fiberglass training,

Petro- chemical industry. Our work often re-

dynamics and stress training. Most of these

quires a multi-disciplinary approach where

training courses are offered on a regular ba-

we combine expertise in fluid flow behaviour,

sis during the year. We also develop custo-

dynamic oscillations, FEM and stress analysis

mised training programs with our customers

with sophisticated analysis software to pre-

fit to their specific needs.

dict system performances.



DRG has been developing software for many

DRG conducts research on different aspects

years, which has resulted in several commer-

of pipe-system design and pressure vessels.

cially available software packages such as

Most of this research is done in close collabo-

BOSfluids, BOSpulse, Jive and Hades. We also

ration with Paulin Research Group and their

provide technical consulting services, and de-

Houston test facilities (

velop numerical software that can be used

Dynaflow Research Group provides support

in computer simulations and other types of

to clients with their R&D to help them conti-

scientific computations.

nuously improve their products.



Topic specific brochures:

Consulting Service Series
Software Product Series
Training Series
Visit our website or send an e-mail to



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The Netherlands
Reg nr. 27320315


+31 79 361 5150

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