A review of the most recent developments in the application of thermochromic liquid crystals to fluid flow temperature measurement is presented. The experimental aspects including application, illumination, recording, and calibration of liquid crystals on solid surfaces, as well as in fluid suspensions, are discussed. Because of the anisotropic optical properties of liquid crystals, on-axis lighting/viewing arrangements, combined with in-situ calibration techniques, generally provide the most accurate temperature assessments. However, where on-axis viewing is not possible, calibration techniques can be employed, which reduce the uncertainty associated with off-axis viewing and lighting arrangements. It has been determined that the use of hue definitions that display a linear trend across the color spectrum yield the most accurate correlation with temperature. The uncertainty of both wide-band and narrow-band thermochromic liquid crystal calibration techniques can be increased due to hysteresis effects, which occur when the temperature of the liquid crystals exceeds their maximum activation temperature. Although liquid crystals are commonly used to provide time-mean temperature measurements, techniques are available which allow the monitoring of temporal changes. Selected examples illustrating the use of thermochromic liquid crystals are shown, and a survey of reported temperature measurement uncertainties is presented.
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