Measurement of the translation and rotation of a sphere in fluid flow

Diogo Barros, Ben Hiltbrand, Ellen K. Longmire

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11 Scopus citations


The problem of determining the translation and rotation of a spherical particle moving in fluid flow is considered. Lagrangian tracking of markers printed over the surface of a sphere is employed to compute the center motion and the angular velocity of the solid body. The method initially calculates the sphere center from the 3D coordinates of the reconstructed markers, then finds the optimal rotation matrix that aligns a set of markers tracked at sequential time steps. The parameters involved in the experimental implementation of this procedure are discussed, and the associated uncertainty is estimated from numerical analysis. Finally, the proposed methodology is applied to characterize the motion of a large spherical particle released in a turbulent boundary layer developing in a water channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

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© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


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