Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 1031–1056

The accuracy of tomographic particle image velocimetry for measurements of a turbulent boundary layer

  • Callum Atkinson
  • Sebastien Coudert
  • Jean-Marc Foucaut
  • Michel Stanislas
  • Julio Soria
Research Article


To investigate the accuracy of tomographic particle image velocimetry (Tomo-PIV) for turbulent boundary layer measurements, a series of synthetic image-based simulations and practical experiments are performed on a high Reynolds number turbulent boundary layer at Reθ = 7,800. Two different approaches to Tomo-PIV are examined using a full-volume slab measurement and a thin-volume “fat” light sheet approach. Tomographic reconstruction is performed using both the standard MART technique and the more efficient MLOS-SMART approach, showing a 10-time increase in processing speed. Random and bias errors are quantified under the influence of the near-wall velocity gradient, reconstruction method, ghost particles, seeding density and volume thickness, using synthetic images. Experimental Tomo-PIV results are compared with hot-wire measurements and errors are examined in terms of the measured mean and fluctuating profiles, probability density functions of the fluctuations, distributions of fluctuating divergence through the volume and velocity power spectra. Velocity gradients have a large effect on errors near the wall and also increase the errors associated with ghost particles, which convect at mean velocities through the volume thickness. Tomo-PIV provides accurate experimental measurements at low wave numbers; however, reconstruction introduces high noise levels that reduces the effective spatial resolution. A thinner volume is shown to provide a higher measurement accuracy at the expense of the measurement domain, albeit still at a lower effective spatial resolution than planar and Stereo-PIV.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Callum Atkinson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sebastien Coudert
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Foucaut
    • 2
  • Michel Stanislas
    • 2
  • Julio Soria
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Turbulence Research in Aerospace and Combustion, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringMonash UniversityVictoriaAustralia
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Mecanique de Lille (UMR CNRS 8107)Ecole Centrale de Lille, Bd Paul LangevinVilleneuve d’Ascq cedexFrance

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