Existing heat exchanger design criteria do not satisfy the continually increasing requirements for greater efficiency or mass flux and energy throughput. Occasionally, failures appear even after only a few hours of operation, as shown in section 3. A long series of experiments, often carried out on original scale, did lead to the derivation of a large number of empirical expressions; however, physical explanations of the complex tube-failure interactions could not as yet be found. In contrast, experiments with a well defined simple model, whereby the tube deflections were recorded digitally and, at the same time, tube-fluid interactions were registered on a high-speed film, show that elementary “fluid transport mechanisms” control the stability behaviour of the heat exchanger tubes. Vibration excitation mechanisms such as “galloping”, “jet switching” and “whirling” (fluid elastic coupling) proved, with their characteristics, as typical for the vibration behaviour of single rows within the tube array, but not for the vibration phenomena of tube bundles.