A multi-parametric particle-pairing algorithm for particle tracking in single and multiphase flows

Nicholas D. Cardwell, Pavlos P. Vlachos, Karen A. Thole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Multiphase flows (MPFs) offer a rich area of fundamental study with many practical applications. Examples of such flows range from the ingestion of foreign particulates in gas turbines to transport of particles within the human body. Experimental investigation of MPFs, however, is challenging, and requires techniques that simultaneously resolve both the carrier and discrete phases present in the flowfield. This paper presents a new multi-parametric particle-pairing algorithm for particle tracking velocimetry (MP3-PTV) in MPFs. MP3-PTV improves upon previous particle tracking algorithms by employing a novel variable pair-matching algorithm which utilizes displacement preconditioning in combination with estimated particle size and intensity to more effectively and accurately match particle pairs between successive images. To improve the method's efficiency, a new particle identification and segmentation routine was also developed. Validation of the new method was initially performed on two artificial data sets: a traditional single-phase flow published by the Visualization Society of Japan (VSJ) and an in-house generated MPF data set having a bi-modal distribution of particles diameters. Metrics of the measurement yield, reliability and overall tracking efficiency were used for method comparison. On the VSJ data set, the newly presented segmentation routine delivered a twofold improvement in identifying particles when compared to other published methods. For the simulated MPF data set, measurement efficiency of the carrier phases improved from 9% to 41% for MP3-PTV as compared to a traditional hybrid PTV. When employed on experimental data of a gas-solid flow, the MP3-PTV effectively identified the two particle populations and reported a vector efficiency and velocity measurement error comparable to measurements for the single-phase flow images. Simultaneous measurement of the dispersed particle and the carrier flowfield velocities allowed for the calculation of instantaneous particle slip velocities, illustrating the algorithm's strength to robustly and accurately resolve polydispersed MPFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105406
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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