Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 39–51 | Cite as

Spatial resolution of PIV for the measurement of turbulence

  • P. Lavoie
  • G. Avallone
  • F. De Gregorio
  • G. P. Romano
  • R. A. Antonia
Research Article


Recent technological advancements have made the use of particle image velocimetry (PIV) more widespread for studying turbulent flows over a wide range of scales. Although PIV does not threaten to make obsolete more mature techniques, such as hot-wire anemometry (HWA), it is justifiably becoming an increasingly important tool for turbulence research. This paper assesses the ability of PIV to resolve all relevant scales in a classical turbulent flow, namely grid turbulence, via a comparison with theoretical predictions as well as HWA measurements. Particular attention is given to the statistical convergence of mean turbulent quantities and the spatial resolution of PIV. An analytical method is developed to quantify and correct for the effect of the finite spatial resolution of PIV measurements. While the present uncorrected PIV results largely underestimate the mean turbulent kinetic energy and energy dissipation rate, the corrected measurements agree to a close approximation with the HWA data. The transport equation for the second-order structure function in grid turbulence is used to establish the range of scales affected by the limited resolution. The results show that PIV, due to the geometry of its sensing domain, must meet slightly more stringent requirements in terms of resolution, compared with HWA, in order to provide reliable measurements in turbulence.



We thank Drs. R.J. Smalley and P. Burattini for many useful discussions. PL and RAA acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Lavoie
    • 1
  • G. Avallone
    • 2
  • F. De Gregorio
    • 3
  • G. P. Romano
    • 2
  • R. A. Antonia
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AeronauticsImperial College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Mechanics and AeronauticsUniversity “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  3. 3.CIRA, Italian Aerospace CenterCapuaItaly
  4. 4.Discipline of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of NewcastleCallaganAustralia

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