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Validating Volumetric Measurements Using Helium-Filled Soap Bubbles in a Turbulent Boundary Layer And Wake Of An Axisymmetric Body Of Revolution

Peter Manovski (1), Dominic Loveday (1), Deepthi Paul (1), Charitha De Silva (2), Matteo Giacobello (1), Nicholas Hutchins (3), Ivan Marusic (3)

1. Defence Science and Technology Group, Melbourne, Australia
2. University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
3. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


This study focuses on the validation of a volumetric measurement technique to characterize the turbulent boundary layers (TBL) and wake of a slender axisymmetric body. Specifically, Lagrangian Particle Tracking (LPT) was employed to analyse a TBL subjected to an adverse pressure gradient (APG) and transverse curvature at the tail of an axisymmetric body, with a Reynolds number based on model length of 3.95×10 6 . For the LPT method, a seeding rake with 100 nozzles was used to disperse helium-filled soap bubbles (HFSB), which served as tracers. These tracers were illuminated by high-powered LED arrays, allowing their motion to be captured by three high-speed cameras at acquisition rates up to 20 kHz. A key aspect of this research was using shadowgraphy to measure the diameter of the bubbles exiting the nozzles and obtaining their statistical variations across the various nozzles in the seeding rake. The study identified that the diameter of bubbles averaged 0.45 mm, indicating a state of near-neutral buoyancy. The LPT results were then obtained using the shake-the-box (STB) tracking alogirthm, while ensemble bin-averaging of the scattered particle tracks was used to obtain turbulence statistics on a regular grid. To validate the LPT results, comparisons were made with time-resolved 2D Particle Image Velocimetry (TR-PIV) and highly resolved hot-wire anemometry. This comparative analysis revealed good agreement of the mean profiles across the methodologies, highlighting the robustness and accuracy of the LPT technique. While the turbulence levels in the outer layer were well captured by the LPT, some discrepancies were observed near the wall in both PIV and LPT data, indicating limitations in capturing small-scale phenomena. The implications of these findings, particularly in understanding the complex 3D flow effects of such TBLs and the resulting wake flow field are discussed.

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