Experiments in Fluids

, 59:30 | Cite as

Particle-pair relative velocity measurement in high-Reynolds-number homogeneous and isotropic turbulence using 4-frame particle tracking velocimetry

  • Zhongwang Dou
  • Peter J. Ireland
  • Andrew D. Bragg
  • Zach Liang
  • Lance R. Collins
  • Hui Meng
Research Article


The radial relative velocity (RV) between particles suspended in turbulent flow plays a critical role in droplet collision and growth. We present a simple and accurate approach to RV measurement in isotropic turbulence—planar 4-frame particle tracking velocimetry—using routine PIV hardware. It improves particle positioning and pairing accuracy over the 2-frame holographic approach by de Jong et al. (Int J Multiphas Flow 36:324–332; de Jong et al., Int J Multiphas Flow 36:324–332, 2010) without using high-speed cameras and lasers as in Saw et al. (Phys Fluids 26:111702, 2014). Homogeneous and isotropic turbulent flow (\({R_\lambda }=357\)) in a new, fan-driven, truncated iscosahedron chamber was laden with either low-Stokes (mean \(St=0.09\), standard deviation 0.05) or high-Stokes aerosols (mean \(St=3.46\), standard deviation 0.57). For comparison, DNS was conducted under similar conditions (\({R_\lambda }=398\); \(St=0.10\) and 3.00, respectively). Experimental RV probability density functions (PDF) and mean inward RV agree well with DNS. Mean inward RV increases with \(St\) at small particle separations, \(r\), and decreases with \(St\) at large \(r\), indicating the dominance of “path-history” and “inertial filtering” effects, respectively. However, at small \(r\), the experimental mean inward RV trends higher than DNS, possibly due to the slight polydispersity of particles and finite light sheet thickness in experiments. To confirm this interpretation, we performed numerical experiments and found that particle polydispersity increases mean inward RV at small \(r\), while finite laser thickness also overestimates mean inward RV at small \(r\), This study demonstrates the feasibility of accurately measuring RV using routine hardware, and verifies, for the first time, the path-history and inertial filtering effects on particle-pair RV at large particle separations experimentally.



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through Collaborative Research Grants CBET-0967407 (HM) and CBET-0967349 (LRC) and through a graduate research fellowship awarded to PJI. We would also like to acknowledge high-performance computing support from Yellowstone (ark:/85065/d7wd3xhc) provided by NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory through Grants ACOR0001 and P35091057, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. We thank Adam L. Hammond for highly valuable technical and editorial assistance. We also thank Dr. Lujie Cao in Ocean University of China for initiating and helping in the implementation of the planar 4-frame PTV technique.

Supplementary material

348_2017_2481_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1116 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhongwang Dou
    • 1
  • Peter J. Ireland
    • 2
  • Andrew D. Bragg
    • 3
  • Zach Liang
    • 1
  • Lance R. Collins
    • 2
  • Hui Meng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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