Accurate turbulence level estimations using PIV/PTV

Sven Scharnowski, Matthew Bross, Christian J. Kähler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Abstract: The estimation of the turbulence level of flow facilities is very important for the comprehensive description of experimental results. While for low flow velocities various measurement techniques can be used (for example hot-wire, LDV, PIV) the task becomes difficult in the case of compressible flows as temperature and density fluctuations bias the measurement of the velocity fluctuations. In this work, we analyze the free-stream flow of the trisonic wind tunnel Munich (TWM) by means of particle image velocimetry (PIV) and particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). The goal is to determine the flow quality, i.e. the turbulence level, over the operating range of the facility without bias due to temperature and density variations. The capability of PIV/PTV for the estimation of small velocity fluctuations is investigated in detail. It is shown that a small particle shift on the measurement plane in combination with a large particle image displacement on the image plane allows for precise velocity measurements. Furthermore, a variation of the time separation between the PIV double images, Δt, enables the measurement uncertainty to be determined, which was estimated to be as low as 0.04 % of the mean displacement for a mean displacement of Δx=100 pixel and an interrogation window size of 32×32 pixel. Regarding the wind tunnel turbulence, it was found that the turbulence level generally decreases with increasing Mach number for the TWM facility, starting with 1.9 % at Ma= 0.3 and reaching 0.45 % at Ma= 3.0. With this analysis, a methodology exists to perform accurate turbulence measurements in incompressible and compressible flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Accurate turbulence level estimations using PIV/PTV'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this