Research Article

Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 549-556

First online:

Volume self-calibration for 3D particle image velocimetry

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Abstract

Planar self-calibration methods have become standard for stereo PIV to correct misalignments between laser light sheet and calibration plane. Computing cross-correlation between images from camera 1 and 2 taken at the same time, non-zero disparity vectors indicate rotational and translational misalignments relative to the coordinate system defined by a calibration plate. This approach works well for thin light sheets but fails for extended volumes recorded in 3D-PTV or tomographic PIV experiments. Here it is primarily necessary to correct calibration errors leading to triangulation errors in 3D-PTV or in degraded tomographic volume reconstruction. Tomographic PIV requires calibration accuracies of a fraction of a pixel throughout the complete volume, which is difficult to achieve experimentally. A new volumetric self-calibration technique has been developed based on the computation of the 3D position of matching particles by triangulation as in 3D-PTV. The residual triangulation error (‘disparity’) is then used to correct the mapping functions for all cameras. A statistical clustering method suitable for dense particle images has been implemented to find correct disparity map peaks from true particle matches. Disparity maps from multiple recordings are summed for better statistics. This self-calibration scheme has been validated using several tomographic PIV experiments improving the vector quality significantly. The relevance for other 3D velocimetry methods is discussed.