The flow-tracing fidelity of sub-millimetre diameter helium-filled soap bubbles (HFSB) for low-speed aerodynamics is studied. The main interest of using HFSB in relation to micron-size droplets is the large amount of scattered light, enabling larger-scale three-dimensional experiments by tomographic PIV. The assessment of aerodynamic behaviour closely follows the method proposed in the early work of Kerho and Bragg (Exp Fluids 50:929–948, 1994) who evaluated the tracer trajectories around the stagnation region at the leading edge of an airfoil. The conclusions of the latter investigation differ from the present work, which concludes sub-millimetre HFSB do represent a valid alternative for quantitative velocimetry in wind tunnel aerodynamic experiments. The flow stagnating ahead of a circular cylinder of 25 mm diameter is considered at speeds up to 30 m/s. The tracers are injected in the free-stream and high-speed PIV, and PTV are used to obtain the velocity field distribution. A qualitative assessment based on streamlines is followed by acceleration and slip velocity measurements using PIV experiments with fog droplets as a term of reference. The tracing fidelity is controlled by the flow rates of helium, liquid soap and air in HFSB production. A characteristic time response, defined as the ratio of slip velocity and the fluid acceleration, is obtained. The feasibility of performing time-resolved tomographic PIV measurements over large volumes in aerodynamic wind tunnels is also studied. The flow past a 5-cm-diameter cylinder is measured over a volume of 20 × 20 × 12 cm3 at a rate of 2 kHz. The achieved seeding density of <0.01 ppp enables resolving the Kármán vortices, whereas turbulent sub-structures cannot be captured.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 11, 2015
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