Research Article

Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 161-171

Stereoscopic micro particle image velocimetry

  • Ralph LindkenAffiliated withLaboratory for Aero and Hydrodynamics, Delft University of Technology Email author 
  • , Jerry WesterweelAffiliated withLaboratory for Aero and Hydrodynamics, Delft University of Technology
  • , Bernhard WienekeAffiliated withLaVision GmbH

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A stereoscopic micro-PIV (stereo-μPIV) system for the simultaneous measurement of all three components of the velocity vector in a measurement plane (2D–3C) in a closed microchannel has been developed and first test measurements were performed on the 3D laminar flow in a T-shaped micromixer. Stereomicroscopy is used to capture PIV images of the flow in a microchannel from two different angles. Stereoscopic viewing is achieved by the use of a large diameter stereo objective lens with two off-axis beam paths. Additional floating lenses in the beam paths in the microscope body allow a magnification up to 23×. The stereo-PIV images are captured simultaneously by two CCD cameras. Due to the very small confinement, a standard calibration procedure for the stereoscopic imaging by means of a calibration target is not feasible, and therefore stereo-μPIV measurements in closed microchannels require a calibration based on the self-calibration of the tracer particle images. In order to include the effects of different refractive indices (of the fluid in the microchannel, the entrance window and the surrounding air) a three-media-model is included in the triangulation procedure of the self-calibration. Test measurement in both an aligned and a tilted channel serve as an accuracy assessment of the proposed method. This shows that the stereo-μPIV results have an RMS error of less than 10% of the expected value of the in-plane velocity component. First measurements in the mixing region of a T-shaped micromixer at Re = 120 show that 3D flow in a microchannel with dimensions of 800 × 200 μm2 can be measured with a spatial resolution of 44 × 44 × 15 μm3. The stationary flow in the 200 μm deep channel was scanned in multiple planes at 22 μm separation, providing a full 3D measurement of the averaged velocity distribution in the mixing region of the T-mixer. A limitation is that this approach requires a stereo-objective that typically has a low NA (0.14–0.28) and large depth-of-focus as opposed to high NA lenses (up to 0.95 without immersion) for standard μPIV.