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Marine Science


Ocean Science and Engineering


Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is a well-established tool to collect high-resolution velocity and turbulence data in the laboratory, in both air and water. Laboratory experiments are often performed under conditions of constant temperature or salinity or in flows with only small gradients of these properties. At larger temperature or salinity variations, the changes in the index of refraction of water or air due to turbulent microstructure can lead to so-called optical turbulence. We observed a marked influence of optical turbulence on particle imaging in PIV. The effect of index of refraction variations on PIV has been described in air for high Mach number flows, but in such cases the distortion is directional. No such effect has previously been reported for conditions of isotropic optical turbulence in water. We investigated the effect of optical turbulence on PIV imaging in a large Rayleigh-Bénard tank for various path lengths and turbulence strengths. The results show that optical turbulence can significantly affect PIV measurements. Depending on the strength of the optical turbulence and path length, the impact can be mitigated in post-processing, which may reduce noise and recover the mean velocity signal, but leads to the loss of the high-frequency turbulence signal.

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Scientific Reports



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