Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 133–146

Particle tracking velocimetry in three-dimensional flows

Part 1. Photogrammetric determination of particle coordinates


  • H. G. Maas
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Hoenggerberg
  • A. Gruen
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Hoenggerberg
  • D. Papantoniou
    • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH-Hoenggerberg

DOI: 10.1007/BF00190953

Cite this article as:
Maas, H.G., Gruen, A. & Papantoniou, D. Experiments in Fluids (1993) 15: 133. doi:10.1007/BF00190953


Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) is a well-known technique for the determination of velocity vectors within an observation volume. However, for a long time it has rarely been applied because of the intensive effort necessary to measure coordinates of a large number of flow marker particles in many images. With today's imaging hardware in combination with the methods of digital image processing and digital photogrammetry, however, new possibilities have arisen for the design of completely automatic PTV systems. A powerful 3D PTV has been developed in a cooperation of the Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry with the Institute of Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In this paper hardware components for 3D PTV systems wil be discussed, and a strict mathematical model of photogrammetric 3D coordinate determination, taking into account the different refractive indices in the optical path, will be presented. The system described is capable of determining coordinate sets of some 1000 particles in a flow field at a time resolution of 25 datasets per second and almost arbitrary sequence length completely automatically after an initialization by an operator. The strict mathematical modelling of the measurement geometry, together with a thorough calibration of the system provide for a coordinate accuracy of typically 0.06 mm in X, Y and 0.18 mm in Z (depth coordinate) in a volume of 200 × 160 × 50 mm3.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993