Volumetric correlation PIV: a new technique for 3D velocity vector field measurement
A method is proposed that allows three-dimensional (3D) two-component measurements to be made by means of particle image velocimetry (PIV) in any volume illuminated over a finite thickness. The method is based on decomposing the cross-correlation function into various contributions at different depths. Because the technique is based on 3D decomposition of the correlation function and not reconstruction of particle images, there is no limit to particle seeding density as experienced by 3D particle tracking algorithms such as defocusing PIV and tomographic PIV. Correlations from different depths are differentiated by the variation in point spread function of the lens used to image the measurement volume over that range of depths. A number of examples are demonstrated by use of synthetic images which simulate micro-PIV (μPIV) experiments. These examples vary from the trivial case of Couette flow (linear variation of one velocity component over depth) to a general case where both velocity components vary by different complex functions over the depth. A final validation—the measurement of a parabolic velocity profile over the depth of a microchannel flow—is presented. The same method could also be applied using a thick light sheet in macro-scale PIV and in a stereo configuration for 3D three-component PIV.