Helium-filled soap bubbles for vortex core velocimetry

Giuseppe Carlo Alp Caridi, Andrea Sciacchitano, Fulvio Scarano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Velocity measurements within the core of high-swirl vortices are often hampered by heavier-than-air particle tracers being centrifuged outside the vortex core region. The use of neutrally buoyant and lighter-than-air tracers is investigated to aim at homogeneous tracers concentration in air flow experiments dealing with high-swirl vortices using particle image velocimetry. Helium-filled soap bubbles (HFSB) of sub-millimeter diameter are employed as flow tracers. Their density is controlled varying the relative amount of helium and soap solution composing the bubbles. The dynamics of HFSB and micro-size droplets is modeled within a Lamb–Oseen vortex to retrieve the order of magnitude of the tracers slip velocity. A positive radial drift for heavier-than-air tracers leads to an empty vortex core. In contrast, the concentration at the vortex axis is expected to increase for lighter than air tracers. Experiments are conducted on a sharp-edged slender delta wing at 20° incidence. At chosen chord-based Reynolds numbers of 2 × 105 and 6 × 105, a stable laminar vortex is formed above the delta wing. Laser sheet visualization is used to inspect the spatial concentration of tracers. A comparison is made between micron-sized fog droplets and HFSB tracers in the nearly neutrally buoyant condition. Stereo-PIV measurements with fog droplets return a systematically underestimated axial velocity distribution within the vortex core due to drop-out of image cross-correlation signal. The nearly neutrally buoyant HFSB tracers appear to maintain a homogeneous spatial concentration and yield cross-correlation signal up to the vortex axis. The resulting velocity measurements are in good agreement with literature data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130
JournalExperiments in Fluids: experimental methods and their applications to fluid flow
Volume58
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

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