Target-free Stereo PIV: a novel technique with inherent error estimation and improved accuracy
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A novel, accurate and simple stereo particle image velocimetry (SPIV) technique utilising three cameras is presented. The key feature of the new technique is that there is no need of a separate calibration phase. The calibration data are measured concurrently with the PIV data by a third paraxial camera. This has the benefit of improving ease of use and reducing the time taken to obtain data. This third camera also provides useful velocity information, considerably improving the accuracy of the resolved 3D vectors. The additional redundancy provided by this third perspective in the stereo reconstruction equations suggests a least-squares approach to their solution. The least-squares process further improves the utility of the technique by means of the reconstruction residual. Detailed error analysis shows that this residual is an accurate predictor of resolved vector errors. The new technique is rigorously validated using both pure translation and rotation test cases. However, while this kind of validation is standard, it is shown that such validation is substantially flawed. The case of the well-known confined vortex breakdown flow is offered as an alternative validation. This flow is readily evaluated using CFD methods, allowing a detailed comparison of the data and evaluation of PIV errors in their entirety for this technique.
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