In the present work, we study the transverse vortex-induced vibrations of an elastically mounted rigid cylinder in a fluid flow. We employ a technique to accurately control the structural damping, enabling the system to take on both negative and positive damping. This permits a systematic study of the effects of system mass and damping on the peak vibration response. Previous experiments over the last 30 years indicate a large scatter in peak-amplitude data ($A^*$) versus the product of mass–damping ($\alpha$), in the so-called ‘Griffin plot’.
A principal result in the present work is the discovery that the data collapse very well if one takes into account the effect of Reynolds number ($\mbox{\textit{Re}}$), as an extra parameter in a modified Griffin plot. Peak amplitudes corresponding to zero damping ($A^*_{{\alpha}{=}0}$), for a compilation of experiments over a wide range of $\mbox{\textit{Re}}\,{=}\,500-33000$, are very well represented by the functional form $A^*_{\alpha{=}0} \,{=}\, f(\mbox{\textit{Re}}) \,{=}\, \log(0.41\,\mbox{\textit{Re}}^{0.36}$). For a given $\mbox{\textit{Re}}$, the amplitude $A^*$ appears to be proportional to a function of mass–damping, $A^*\propto g(\alpha)$, which is a similar function over all $\mbox{\textit{Re}}$. A good best-fit for a wide range of mass–damping and Reynolds number is thus given by the following simple expression, where $A^*\,{=}\, g(\alpha)\,f(\mbox{\textit{Re}})$: \[ A^* \,{=}\,(1 - 1.12\,\alpha + 0.30\,\alpha^2)\,\log (0.41\,\mbox{\textit{Re}}^{0.36}). \] In essence, by using a renormalized parameter, which we define as the ‘modified amplitude’, $A^*_M\,{=}\,A^*/A^*_{\alpha{=}0}$, the previously scattered data collapse very well onto a single curve, $g(\alpha)$, on what we refer to as the ‘modified Griffin plot’. There has also been much debate over the last three decades concerning the validity of using the product of mass and damping (such as $\alpha$) in these problems. Our results indicate that the combined mass–damping parameter ($\alpha$) does indeed collapse peak-amplitude data well, at a given $\mbox{\textit{Re}}$, independent of the precise mass and damping values, for mass ratios down to $m^*\,{=}\,1$.