Journal of Visualization

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 47–58 | Cite as

Three-dimensional flow and surface visualization using hydrogen bubble technique

  • C. MortonEmail author
  • S. Yarusevych
Regular Paper


A modified hydrogen bubble technique is developed for simultaneous three-dimensional flow visualization and surface visualization on bluff bodies. A detailed description of the technique implementation and operating principles is presented. The technique is validated on two geometries: (1) a uniform circular cylinder for ReD = 1,050 and 2,100; and (2) a dual-step cylinder for ReD = 2,100, D/d = 2, and L/D = 0.5. The results demonstrate that flow visualizations effectively capture intricate three-dimensional wake vortex development including the formation of streamwise structures and vortex interactions in the wake of a dual-step cylinder. The surface visualizations capture boundary layer separation and its variation along the span of the models. Moreover, the results reveal complex three-dimensional surface flow patterns, shedding light on the topology of vortical structures forming near dual-step cylinder junctions.

Graphical Abstract


Flow visualization Surface visualization Turbulent vortex shedding Hydrogen bubble technique 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for the funding of this work.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MPG 19156 kb)

12650_2014_219_MOESM2_ESM.mpg (7.1 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (MPG 7226 kb)
12650_2014_219_MOESM3_ESM.mpg (7.1 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (MPG 7302 kb)
12650_2014_219_MOESM4_ESM.mpg (10.7 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (MPG 10962 kb)


  1. Abdel-Aal HK, Hussein IA (1993) Parametric study for saline water electrolysis: part III—precipitate formation and recovery of magnesium salts. Int J Hydrogen Energ 18(7):553–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker CJ (1980) The turbulent horseshoe vortex. J Wind Eng Ind Aerod 6:9–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ballengee DW, Chen CF (1969) Experimental determination of the separation point of flow around a circular cylinder. Flow Meas Control Sci Ind 1:419–431Google Scholar
  4. Cao S, Ozono S, Tamura Y, Ge Y, Kikugawa H (2010) Numerical simulation of Reynolds number effects on velocity shear flow around a circular cylinder. J Fluid Struct 26:685–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clayton BR, Massey BS (1967) Flow visualization in water: a review of techniques. J Sci Instrum 44:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Corke T, Matlis E, Schuele CY, Wilkincon S, Owens L, Balakumar P (2010) Control of stationary cross-flow modes using patterned roughness at Mach 3.5. Seventh IUTAM Symposium on Laminar-Turbulent Transition, IUTAM Bookseries, vol 18., pp 123–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dunn W, Tavoularis S (2006) Experimental studies of vortices shed from cylinders with a step change in diameter. J Fluid Mech 555:409–437CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. Freymuth P (1993) Flow visualization in fluid mechanics. Rev Sci Instrum 64(1):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guha A (2008) Transport and deposition of particles in turbulent and laminar flow. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 40:311–341CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  10. Haugen NEL, Kragset S (2010) Particle impaction on a cylinder in crossflow as function of Stokes and Reynolds numbers. J Fluid Mech 661:239–261CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. Jenner GA, Longerich HP, Jackson SE, Fryer BJ (1990) ICP-MS–A powerful tool for high-precision trace element analysis in Earth sciences: evidence from analysis of selected USGS reference samples. Chem. Geo 83(1–2):133–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kappler M, Rodi W, Szepessy S, Badran O (2005) Experiments on the flow past long circular cylinders in a shear flow. Exp Fluids 38:269–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kazi SN, Duffy GG, Chen XD (2010) Mineral scale formation and mitigation on metals and a polymeric heat exchanger surface. Appl Therm Eng 30:2236–2242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kirk DW, Ledas AE (1982) Precipitate formation during sea water electrolysis. Int J Hydrogen Energy 7(12):925–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kleinstreuer C, Feng Y (2013) Computational analysis of non-spherical particle transport and deposition in shear flow with application to lung aerosol dynamics—a review. J Biomech Eng 135:021008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lamb H (1945) Hydrodynamics, 6th edn. Dover Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Langston LS, Boyle MT (1982) A new surface-streamline flow visualization technique. J Fluid Mech 125:53–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lu FK (2010) Surface oil flow visualization. Euro Phy J Spec Topics 182:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Merzkirch W (1987) Flow visualization. 2nd (Ed), Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Morton C, Yarusevych S (2014) On vortex shedding from low aspect ratio dual step cylinders. J Fluid Struct 44:251–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mueller TJ (1980) On the historical development of apparatus and techniques for smoke visualization of subsonic and supersonic flow, AIAA Paper 80-0420-CPGoogle Scholar
  22. Parnaudeau P, Carlier J, Heitz D, Lamballais E (2008) Experimental and numerical studies of the flow over a circular cylinder at Reynolds number 3900. Phys Fluids 20:085101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roh SC, Park SO (2003) Vortical flow over the free end surface of a finite circular cylinder mounted on a flat plate. Exp Fluids 34:63–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scarano F, Poelma C (2009) Three-dimensional vorticity patterns of cylinder wakes. Exp Fluids 47:69–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schraub FA, Kline SJ, Henry J, Runstadler PW Jr, Littell A (1965) Use of hydrogen bubbles for quantitative determination of time-dependent velocity fields in low speed water flows. J. Basic Eng 87(2):429–444 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Simpson RL (2001) Junction flows. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 33:415–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smith CR, Seal CV, Praisner TJ, Sabatino DR (2000) Hydrogen bubble visualization, invited chapter in flow visualization: techniques and examples. In: Smits AJ, Lim TT (eds) Imperial College Press, London, pp 27–42Google Scholar
  28. Smits AJ, Lim TT (2000) Flow visualization: techniques and examples. Imperial College Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stucke P, Taipel I (1991) Separation of flow around a circular cylinder at moderate Re-numbers. International Union Theoretical Applied Mechanics, Separated Flows and Jets, pp 751–754Google Scholar
  30. van Oudheusden BW, Nebbeling C, Bannik WJ (1996) Topological interpretation of the surface flow visualization of conical viscous/inviscid interactions. J Fluid Mech 316:115–137CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  31. Werle H (1973) Hydrodynamic flow visualization. Annu Rev Fluid Mech 5:361–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wissink JG, Rodi W (2008) Numerical study of the near wake of a circular cylinder. Int J Heat Fluid Fl 29:1060–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wu J, Sheridan J, Hourigan K, Soria J (1996) Shear layer vortices and longitudinal vortices in the near wake of a circular cylinder. Exp Therm Fluid Sci 12:169–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wu MH, Wen CY, Yen RH, Weng MC, Wang AB (2004) Experimental and numerical study of the separation angle for flow around a circular cylinder at low Reynolds number. J Fluid Mech 515:233–260CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  35. Williamson CHK, Wu J, Sheridan J (1995) Scaling of streamwise vortices in wakes. Phys. Fluids 7(10):2307–2309Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Visualization Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics EngineeringUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations