Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 137–147 | Cite as

A film-based wall shear stress sensor for wall-bounded turbulent flows

Research Article


In wall-bounded turbulent flows, determination of wall shear stress is an important task. The main objective of the present work is to develop a sensor which is capable of measuring surface shear stress over an extended region applicable to wall-bounded turbulent flows. This sensor, as a direct method for measuring wall shear stress, consists of mounting a thin flexible film on the solid surface. The sensor is made of a homogeneous, isotropic, and incompressible material. The geometry and mechanical properties of the film are measured, and particles with the nominal size of 11 μm in diameter are embedded on the film’s surface to act as markers. An optical technique is used to measure the film deformation caused by the flow. The film has typically deflection of less than 2% of the material thickness under maximum loading. The sensor sensitivity can be adjusted by changing the thickness of the layer or the shear modulus of the film’s material. The paper reports the sensor fabrication, static and dynamic calibration procedure, and its application to a fully developed turbulent channel flow at Reynolds numbers in the range of 90,000–130,000 based on the bulk velocity and channel full height. The results are compared to alternative wall shear stress measurement methods.


  1. Amili O, Soria J (2008) Application of digital holographic microscopic piv to a water jet. Proceedings of the 5th Australian conference on laser diagnostics in fluid mechanics and combustion, Perth, Australia, 3–4 Dec 2008, pp 51–54Google Scholar
  2. Amili O, Law KH, Soria J (2009) Wall shear stress measurements using a novel shear stress sensor. Proceedings of the 8th international symposium on particle image velocimetry-PIV 09, Melbourne, Australia, 25–28 Aug 2009Google Scholar
  3. Baughn JW, Butler RJ, Byerley AR, River RB (1995) An experimental investigation of heat transfer, transition and separation on turbine blades at low reynolds number and high turbulence intensity. Proceedings of international mechanical engineering congress and exposition, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  4. Brücker C, Spatz J, Schröder W (2005) Feasibility study of wall shear stress imaging using microstructured surfaces with flexible micropillars. Exp Fluids 39(2):464–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brücker C, Bauer D, Chaves H (2007) Dynamic response of micro-pillar sensors measuring fluctuating wall-shear-stress. Exp Fluids 42(5):737–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christensen KT (2001) PhD Thesis, Experimental investigation of acceleration and velocity fields in turbulent channel flow. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USAGoogle Scholar
  7. Clauser FH (1956) The turbulent boundary layer. Adv Appl Mech 4:1–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Colella KJ, Keith WL (2003) Measurements and scaling of wall shear stress fluctuations. Exp Fluids 34(2):253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crafton J, Fonov S, Forlines A, Goss L (2010) Skin friction measurements using elastic films. Proceedings of the 48th AIAA aerospace sciences meeting, Orlando, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  10. Crafton JW, Fonov SD, Jones EG, Goss LP, Forlines RA, Fontaine A (2008) Measurements of skin friction in water using surface stress sensitive films. Meas Sci Technol 19(7):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fernholz HH, Janke G, Schober M, Wagner PM, Warnack D (1996) New developments and applications of skin-friction measuring techniques. Meas Sci Technol 7(10):1396–1409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fonov S, Jones G, Crafton J, Fonov V, Goss L (2006a) The development of optical techniques for the measurement of pressure and skin friction. Meas Sci Technol 17(6):1261–1268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fonov SD, Goss LP, Jones EG, Crafton JW, Fonov VS (2006b) Identification of pressure measurement system based on surface stress sensitive films. Proceedings of the 44th AIAA aerospace sciences meeting vol 17. Reno, Nevada, pp 12516–12526Google Scholar
  14. Fujisawa N, Aoyama A, Kosaka S (2003) Measurement of shear-stress distribution over a surface by liquid-crystal coating. Meas Sci Technol 14(9):1655–1661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gregory JW, Peterson SD (2005) Flow visualization with laser-induced thermal tufts. Proceedings of the 43rd AIAA aerospace sciences meeting and exhibit, Reno, NV pp 1–10Google Scholar
  16. Gregory JW, Baughn JW, Porter CO, Byerley AR (2008) Optical method for measuring low wall shear stresses using thermal tufts. AIAA J 46(5):1088–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grosse S (2008) PhD Thesis, Development of the Micro-Pillar shear-stress sensor MPS3 for turbulent flows. RWTH Aachen University, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  18. Grosse S, Schröder W (2008a) Dynamic wall-shear stress measurements in turbulent pipe flow using the micro-pillar sensor mps3. Int J Heat Fluid Flow 29(3):830–840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grosse S, Schröder W (2008b) Mean wall-shear stress measurements using the micro-pillar shear-stress sensor mps3. Meas Sci Technol 19(1)Google Scholar
  20. Haritonidis JH (1989) The measurement of wall shear stress. Advances in Fluid Mechanics Measurements pp 229–261Google Scholar
  21. Lai WM, Rubin D, Krempl E (1993) Introduction to continuum mechanics, 3rd edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Löfdahl L, Gad-el Hak M (1999) Mems applications in turbulence and flow control. Prog Aerosp Sci 35(2):101–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McQuilling M, Wolff M, Fonov S, Crafton J, Sondergaard R (2008) An experimental investigation of a low-pressure turbine blade suction surface using a shear and stress sensitive film. Exp Fluids 44(1):73–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Monty JP (2005) PhD Thesis, Developments in smooth wall turbulent duct flows. University of Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  25. Murphy JD, Westphal RV (1986) The laser interferometer skin-friction meter: a numerical and experimental study. J Phys E 19(9):744–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Naughton JW, Brown JL (1999) Surface imaging skin friction instrument and method 873352 (US patent 59633107)Google Scholar
  27. Naughton JW, Sheplak M (2002) Modern developments in shear-stress measurement. Prog Aerosp Sci 38(6-7):515–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Palero V, Arroyo MP, Soria J (2007) Digital holography for micro-droplet diagnostics. Exp Fluids 43(2-3):185–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parker K, Von Ellenrieder KD, Soria J (2005) Using stereo multigrid dpiv (smdpiv) measurements to investigate the vortical skeleton behind a finite-span flapping wing. Exp Fluids 39(2):281–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schmidt MA, Howe RT, Senturia SD, Haritonidis JH (1988) Design and calibration of a microfabricated floating-element shear-stress sensor. IEEE Trans Electron Devices 35(6):750–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sheplak M, Cattafesta L, Nishida T, McGinley CB (2004) Mems shear stress sensors: Promise and progress. Proceedings of the 24th AIAA aerodynamic measurement technology and ground testing conference, Portland, ORGoogle Scholar
  32. Soria J (1996) An investigation of the near wake of a circular cylinder using a video-based digital cross-correlation particle image velocimetry technique. Exp Thermal Fluid Sci 12(2):221–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Soria J (1998) Multigrid approach to cross-correlation digital piv and hpiv analysis. Proceedings of the 13th Australasian fluid mechanics conference, Melbourne, Australia, 13–18 Dec 1998, pp 381–384Google Scholar
  34. Soria J, Atkinson C (2008) Towards 3c-3d digital holographic fluid velocity vector field measurement–tomographic digital holographic piv (tomo-hpiv). Meas Sci Technol 19(7)Google Scholar
  35. Soria J, Amili O, Atkinson C (2008) Measuring dynamic phenomena at the sub-micron scale. International conference on nanoscience and nanotechnology (ICONN 2008), Melbourne, Australia, 25–29 Feb 2008, pp 129–132Google Scholar
  36. Tarasov V, Fonov S, Morozov A (1997) New gauges for direct skin friction measurements. Proceedings of the 17th international congress on instrumentation in aerospace simulation facilities (ICIASF97), Pacific Grove, CAGoogle Scholar
  37. Winter KG (1977) Outline of the techniques available for the measurement of skin friction in turbulent boundary layers. Prog Aerosp Sci 18(1):1–57MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  38. Zanoun ES, Durst F, Nagib H (2003) Evaluating the law of the wall in two-dimensional fully developed turbulent channel flows. Phys Fluids 15(10):3079–3089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zanoun ES, Durst F, Bayoumy O, Al-Salaymeh A (2007) Wall skin friction and mean velocity profiles of fully developed turbulent pipe flows. Exp Thermal Fluid Sci 32(1):249–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zanoun ES, Nagib HM, Durst F (2009) Refined cf relation for turbulent channels and consequences for high re experiments. Fluid Dyn Res 41:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Turbulence Research in Aerospace and Combustion, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations