The VIVACE (Vortex-Induced Vibration for Aquatic Clean Energy) Converter harnesses hydrokinetic energy by enhancing flow-induced oscillations (FIOs) of elastically supported rigid cylinders in a river, tide, or ocean current. The harnessing power depends on the intensity of the oscillation, which is a consequence of the flow-structure interaction. The inflow condition for the downstream (2nd) cylinder is slowed down and perturbed by the upstream (1st) cylinder, due to the shielding effect. Therefore, the optimal structural parameters, i.e., stiffness and damping ratio, for the 2nd cylinder may be different from the 1st cylinder, in terms of energy harnessing.
To improve the performance of the VIVACE Converter, a series of experiments are conducted in a recirculating water channel, with various stiffness combinations of two cylinders in tandem. Three center-to-center spacings, six damping ratios, and seven combinations of spring stiffness are tested. The stiffness of the 1st cylinder, K1, is 600 N/m or 1,000 N/m, while the stiffness of the 2nd cylinder, K2, varies from 400 N/m to 1,200 N/m in increments of 200N/m. Results show that K2 does not affect the energy harnessing power in vortex-induced vibration (VIV) occurring at low speeds, but has great influence on the harnessing power at higher velocities in the transition region from VIV to galloping and in galloping. Decreasing K2 onsets and enhances galloping at lower flow velocity and harnesses up to 110% more energy than the case of K1 = K2. For K1 = 1,000 N/m, the harnessed power is the same for all the combinations of K1 and K2. The overall performance is best when K1 = K2. As spacing increases, the impact of K2 is diminished as explain by the dependence of power on the amplitude and frequency of cylinder oscillations.