Measurement of instantaneous Eulerian acceleration fields by particle image accelerometry: Method and accuracy

K. T. Christensen, R. J. Adrian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Acceleration is a fundamental quantity in fluid mechanics because it reflects the sum of all forces (pressure and viscous) present within the flow. However, measurements of acceleration have been difficult to achieve relative to the ease with which fluid velocity can be measured. A particle image accelerometer (PIA) has been developed to measure Eulerian acceleration fields by time-differencing successive measurements of the Eulerian velocity field as measured by particle image velocimetry (PIV). The measurements can also be made in uniformly translating frames. With current video camera technology, it is often not possible to measure the two velocity fields with a time separation sufficiently small enough to permit accurate finite difference approximation of the time derivative. A two-CCD-camera system has been developed to alleviate this limitation. Polarization filtering is utilized to separate the particle images viewed by each camera. The polarization filtering is achieved using cross-polarized light-sheets and a polarization filter just upstream of the imaging optics of the cameras. In this manner, PIV measurements can be achieved easily at time delays several orders of magnitude smaller than the shutter-time of the CCD cameras. The accuracy of the acceleration measurements is determined by numerical finite differencing errors and random noise and bias errors associated with the measurement of velocity. These errors, and methods of compensating for them, are studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-769
Number of pages11
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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