Eolian vibration can occur when conductors are exposed to a steady low-velocity wind. If the amplitude of such vibration is sufficient, it can result in strand fatigue and/or fatigue of conductor accessories.

The amplitude of vibration can be reduced by reducing the conductor tension, adding damping by using dampers (or clamps with damping characteristics), or by the use of special conductors which either provide more damping than standard conductors or are shaped so as to prevent resonance between the tensioned conductor span and the wind-induced vibration force.

Eolian Vibration. As wind blows across a conductor, vortices are shed from the top and bottom of the conductor. The vortex shedding is accompanied by a varying pressure on the top and bottom of the conductor that encourages cyclic vibration of the conductor perpendicular to the direction of wind flow.

The frequency at which this alternating pressure occurs is given by the expression

     f = 3.26 x U/d

where U wind speed, mi/h
d conductor diameter, in
f frequency, Hz

For a 1.0-in-diameter conductor exposed to a 10-mi/h wind, the vortex shedding force oscillates at 32.6 Hz. To develop significant amplitudes, there must be a resonance between this oscillating wind force and the vibrating catenary (conductor).

The fundamental frequency of vibration of the suspended conductor is in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 Hz. Therefore, the eolian vibration force will be unlikely to excite a fundamental span mode. This is verified by actual conductor performance where significant amplitudes are usually observed for frequencies in the range of 10 to 100 Hz.

Practical wind speeds cause vortex shedding forces of greater than 10 Hz, eliminating frequencies below this level, and frequencies above 100 Hz are not present because of the rapid increase in conductor selfdamping for these higher frequencies.

The maximum alternating stress resulting in strand fatigue normally occurs at the conductor clamp. The stress is related to the amplitude of conductor vibration and is the amplitude normally measured by field recording devices. Stress and amplitude of vibration can be related by analytical means such as the Poffenberger Swart formula.

The amplitude of eolian vibration is fixed by the balance of energy input from the wind-induced vortex shedding forces and the energy loss due to conductor, accessory, and structure damping. The addition of dampers to the conductor has been established as an effective means of control. Special conductors such as SDC and SSAC have also been shown effective in reducing the strand stress levels.

Another effective means of limiting vibration fatigue problems is to increase the self-damping of standard conductors by reducing tension. As a practical approximation, stringing conductors to a final unloaded tension of 15% or less at the minimum seasonal average temperature (usually 0 to 30 F) will prevent vibration fatigue problems.

Higher tensions are routinely used in areas where the line is parallel to existing lines and the higher tension on the existing line has not resulted in problems. The use of vibration dampers or special anti vibration conductors can also allow the use of higher tension levels.

As with single conductors, bundled conductors are subjected to eolian vibration. However, the interaction of conductors in the bundle due to slightly different tensions and increased damping from spacers results in lower vibration levels for bundles than for single conductors in the same wind exposure.

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