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A continuously scanning spatiotemporal averaging method for obtaining volumetric mean flow measurements with stereoscopic PIV


In this study, a variation of the stacked stereoscopic PIV technique is proposed to perform fully volumetric (3-dimensions, 3-components) measurements of average flow fields within a single experiment through the usage of an automated traversing system that continuously scans the SPIV light sheet over a linear path. The simultaneous measurement of the traverse location and the laser Q-switch pulse enables the automated assignment of instantaneous PIV fields to known physical coordinates, enabling spatiotemporal averaging in post-processing to obtain volumetric measurements of a flow field. This method provides a trade-off between spatial resolution of the volume measurements and statistical convergence of the spatiotemporal averages, enabling volumetric measurements under challenging experimental conditions where only stereoscopic PIV is viable. A comparison with the more traditional temporal averaging method and planar PIV is presented to demonstrate the capabilities and limitations of this technique in realistic, challenging experimental setups. It is found that the spatiotemporal averaging convergence behavior differs slightly from the traditional temporal averaging for the wake of a bluff body model, however relative errors lower than two standard deviations can still be attained. Thus, this technique presents a viable alternative for rapid 3D reconstruction of averaged flow fields that can provide invaluable insight of various flow topologies.

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Data are available on request from the authors.


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The authors would also like to thank the wind tunnel engineers Alex Karns and Benjamin Kepple for their expertise operating the Polysonic Wind Tunnel facility, as well as the master machinist Jeremy Phillips for providing the detailed aerodynamic models required for this study.


This work is partially sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Air Force Office for Scientific Research (AFOSR)

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F. Z. conceptualized the experiments and wrote the main manuscript text. R. H. led the experimental effort for the cylindrical bluff body wake experiment. C. E. led the experimental effort for the ship wake experiment. S. S. led the experimental effort for the supersonic double fin experiment. F. A. supervised the effort and helped interpret the physics of the results obtained. All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Fernando Zigunov.

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Zigunov, F., Seckin, S., Huss, R. et al. A continuously scanning spatiotemporal averaging method for obtaining volumetric mean flow measurements with stereoscopic PIV. Exp Fluids 64, 56 (2023).

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