Tuft deflection velocimetry: a simple method to extract quantitative flow field information
A novel method capable of assessing flow fields in a quick and relatively simple manner is introduced. In an extension to the classical qualitative flow visualization by means of cotton or polymeric tufts, digital data processing is used to extract the orientation of these tufts. This information can be related to physical quantities, in particular to time- and space-dependent velocity signals. The capability of this method is demonstrated in two test scenarios. First, it is applied to gain information on the unsteady near-wall flow along a turbulent separation bubble. Second, the two-component velocity field in the wake of a generic car model is measured, allowing for a quantification of the recirculation zone dimensions. Validation measurements with conventional techniques, e.g., particle image velocimetry, unsteady pressure measurements and hot wire anemometry, are conducted throughout the study. These generally suggest that the novel approach provides a quick and reasonably good quantitative overview of the flow configurations. However, the measurement error may be substantial in flow regions of low velocity or dominated by high-frequency oscillations.
Published in: Experiments in Fluids, 10.1007/s00348-020-02979-7, SpringerNature