Advanced 2-D and 3-D particle velocimetry techniques for quantitative fluid flow visualisation in real-time
The aim of this study was to develop and implement a low cost, high speed, flow visualisation tool for 3-D velocity measurement throughout time dependent particle seeded fluid flow volumes. To achieve this, a new high performance wind / water tunnel was designed and constructed using CFD as a design aid. The tunnel provided the necessary platform for obtaining consistent high quality images of fluid flow. Images were grabbed using low cost CCD cameras and downloaded via a PC mounted image capture board, to system RAM. The conventional high cost laser sheet illumination method was replaced with a low cost, portable floodlight system, which enabled both 2-D and 3-D flow volumes to be illuminated. For the 3-D image capture, stereo photogrammetric techniques were employed. Advanced calibration algorithms were developed which automatically detected camera positioning. This reduced the inherent human error associated with setting-up a complex imaging system. 2-D pattern matching and particle tracking algorithms were developed, optimised and tested using real and synthetically generated flow data, to establish practical limits for particle seeding density, particle image size, flow velocity and flow complexity. These results demonstrated that particle tracking was more suited to real-time 3-D applications. The developed algorithms formed the base of a Windows 95/Windows NT package for general purpose analysis of 2-D and 3-D single exposure image streams of particle seeded fluid flow.