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A Low-Cost PIV System for Undergraduate Fluids Laboratories

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session

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Aaron Budd The Citadel


Jason Howison The Citadel

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Jason Howison is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The Citadel. He received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee. Prior to returning to school, he worked in industry as a solid rocket ballistic analyst. His current research areas include computational fluid dynamics, turbulence modeling, wind turbines, aeroelasticity, and engineering education.

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Particle image velocimetry (PIV) has become a mature technology used in research and industry alike to quantify flow properties non-intrusively. Unfortunately, the cost remains too high for students to apply the method in most undergraduate fluids laboratories. Moreover, high-powered pulsed lasers normally utilized in PIV systems can be a safety risk in the presence of large groups of undergraduates. In this paper, a low-cost PIV acquisition and analysis system that can be readily implemented in undergraduate fluids laboratories is presented. A low-power, constant laser light source is employed to reduce cost and maintain lab safety. An open source analysis code is also used to minimize cost. In working lab exercises with this system, students will understand the PIV data acquisition process, apply MATLAB to analyze the data, and explain the observed flow features. Details of the system are provided so that others may construct a similar system for use in their laboratory. Sample results for flow over a cylinder inside a water flume are included as a demonstration of the system.

Budd, A., & Howison, J. (2018, June), A Low-Cost PIV System for Undergraduate Fluids Laboratories Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29694

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