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Concept: Particle image velocimetry


The flow in a confined container induced by an ultrasonic horn is measured by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). This flow is caused by acoustic streaming and highly influenced by the presence of cavitation. The jet-like experimentally observed flow is compared with the available theoretical solution for a turbulent free round jet. The similarity between both flows enables a simplified numerical model to be made, whilst the phenomenon is very difficult to simulate otherwise. The numerical model requires only two parameters, i.e. the flow momentum and turbulent kinetic energy at the position of the horn tip. The simulated flow is used as a basis for the calculation of the time required for the entire liquid volume to pass through the active cavitation region.

Concepts: Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Fluid dynamics, Kinetic energy, Operations research, Computer graphics, Classical mechanics, Particle image velocimetry


This article is the first clinical investigation of the quantitative left atrial (LA) vortex flow by two-dimensional (2-D) transesophageal contrast echocardiography (2-D-TECE) using vector particle image velocimetry (PIV). The aims of this study were to assess the feasibility of LA vortex flow analysis and to characterize and quantify the LA vortex flow in controls and in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Thirty-five controls and 30 patients with AF underwent transesophageal contrast echocardiography. The velocity vector was estimated by particle image velocimetry. The morphology and pulsatility of the LA vortex flow were compared between the control and AF groups. In all patients, quantitative LA vortex flow analysis was feasible. In the control group, multiple, pulsatile, compact and elliptical-shaped vortices were seen in the periphery of the LA. These vortices were persistently maintained and vectors were directed toward the atrioventricular inflow. In the AF group, a large, merged, lower pulsatile and round-shaped vortex was observed in the center of the LA. In comparisons of vortex parameters, the relative strength was significantly lower in the AF group (1.624 ± 0.501 vs. 2.105 ± 0.226, p < 0.001). It is feasible to characterize and quantify the LA vortex flow by transesophageal contrast echocardiography in patients with AF, which offers a new method to obtain additional information on LA hemodynamics. The approach has the potential for early detection of the LA dysfunction and in decisions regarding treatment strategy and guiding anticoagulation treatment in patients with AF.

Concepts: Scientific method, Fluid dynamics, Atrial fibrillation, Dimension, Vector space, Particle image velocimetry, Vortex, Relative velocity


Velocities and accelerations are measured and visualized in silicon microchannels using particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). Both pulsatile and stationary flows are generated in channels with different geometry. Distinct differences between flow regimes and geometries are shown. Flow separation occurred at Re = 84 for the channel with an expanded bifurcation shown by streamlines from long exposed images. Moving least squares are used to find the ensemble-averaged positions of the measured velocities from tracking. This is needed to find the local and convective accelerations.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, General relativity, Measurement, Particle image velocimetry, Dimensional analysis, Ruler, Particle tracking velocimetry, Velocimetry


To date, there is only a fragmentary understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of airway mucociliary transport. Application of the latest measurement techniques can aid in deciphering the complex interplay between ciliary beat and airway surface liquid (ASL) transport. In the present study, direct, quasi-simultaneous measurements of the cilia-induced fluid and bead transport were performed to gain a better insight into both transport mechanisms. In this study cilia-induced periciliary liquid (PCL) transport is measured by means of micro Particle Image Velocimetry (μPIV) with neutrally buoyant tracers. Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) with heavier polystyrene-ferrite beads is performed to simulate particle transport. Contrary to recent literature, in which the presence of mucus was deemed necessary to maintain periciliary liquid (PCL) transport, effective particle and fluid transport was measured in our experiments in the absence of mucus. In response to muscarine or ATP stimulation, maximum fluid transport rates of 250μm/s at 15μm distance to the tracheal epithelia were measured while bead transport rates over the epithelia surfaces reached 200μm/s. We estimated that the mean bead transport is dominated by viscous drag compared to inertial fluid forces. Furthermore, mean bead transport velocities appear to be two orders of magnitude larger compared to bead sedimentation velocities. Therefore, beads are expected to closely follow the mean PCL flow in non-ciliated epithelium regions. Based on our results, we have shown that PCL transport can be directly driven by the cilia beat and that the PCL motion may be capable of driving bead transport by fluid drag.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Measurement, Viscosity, Arithmetic mean, Respiratory epithelium, Particle image velocimetry, Particle tracking velocimetry, Velocimetry


Syngnathid fish (seahorses, pipefish and sea dragons) are slow swimmers yet capture evasive prey (copepods) using a technique known as the ‘pivot’ feeding, which involves rapid movement to overcome prey escape capabilities. However, this feeding mode functions only at short range and requires approaching very closely to hydrodynamically sensitive prey without triggering an escape. Here we investigate the role of head morphology on prey capture using holographic and particle image velocimetry (PIV). We show that head morphology functions to create a reduced fluid deformation zone, minimizing hydrodynamic disturbance where feeding strikes occur (above the end of the snout), and permits syngnathid fish to approach highly sensitive copepod prey (Acartia tonsa) undetected. The results explain how these animals can successfully employ short range ‘pivot’ feeding effectively on evasive prey. The need to approach prey with stealth may have selected for a head shape that produces lower deformation rates than other fish.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Particle image velocimetry, Zooplankton, Copepod, Seahorse, Syngnathidae, Pipefish, Syngnathiformes


The functional properties and technological utility of polycrystalline materials are largely determined by the structure, geometry, and spatial distribution of their multitude of crystals. However, crystallization is seeded through stochastic and incoherent nucleation events, limiting the ability to control or pattern the microstructure, texture, and functional properties of polycrystalline materials. We present a universal approach that can program the microstructure of materials through the coherent seeding of otherwise stochastic homogeneous nucleation events. The method relies on creating topographic variations to seed nucleation and growth at designated locations while delaying nucleation elsewhere. Each seed can thus produce a coherent growth front of crystallization with a geometry designated by the shape and arrangement of seeds. Periodic and aperiodic crystalline arrays of functional materials, such as semiconductors, can thus be created on demand and with unprecedented sophistication and ease by patterning the location and shape of the seeds. This approach is used to demonstrate printed arrays of organic thin-film transistors with remarkable performance and reproducibility owing to their demonstrated spatial control over the microstructure of organic and inorganic polycrystalline semiconductors.

Concepts: Crystal, Semiconductor, Materials science, Crystallization, Seed, Nucleation, Crystal growth, Particle image velocimetry


We demonstrate the viability of using four low-cost smartphone cameras to perform Tomographic PIV. We use colored shadows to imprint two or three different time-steps on the same image. The back-lighting is accomplished with three sets of differently-colored pulsed LEDs. Each set of Red, Green & Blue LEDs is shone on a diffuser screen facing each of the cameras. We thereby record the RGB-colored shadows of opaque suspended particles, rather than the conventionally used scattered light. We subsequently separate the RGB color channels, to represent the separate times, with preprocessing to minimize noise and cross-talk. We use commercially available Tomo-PIV software for the calibration, 3-D particle reconstruction and particle-field correlations, to obtain all three velocity components in a volume. Acceleration estimations can be done thanks to the triple pulse illumination. Our test flow is a vortex ring produced by forcing flow through a circular orifice, using a flexible membrane, which is driven by a pressurized air pulse. Our system is compared to a commercial stereoscopic PIV system for error estimations. We believe this proof of concept experiment will make this technique available for education, industry and scientists for a fraction of the hardware cost needed for traditional Tomo-PIV.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Measurement, Color, Part, Light-emitting diode, Lighting, RGB color model, Particle image velocimetry


Snapping shrimp use one oversized claw to generate a cavitating high speed water jet for hunting, defence and communication. This work is an experimental investigation about the jet generation. Snapping shrimp (Alpheus-bellulus) were investigated by using an enlarged transparent model reproducing the closure of the snapper claw. Flow inside the model was studied using both High-Speed Particle Image Velocimetry (HS-PIV) and flow visualization. During claw closure a channel-like cavity was formed between the plunger and the socket featuring a nozzle-type contour at the orifice. Closing the mechanism led to the formation of a leading vortex ring with a dimensionless formation number of approximate ΔT*≈4. This indicates that the claw might work at maximum efficiency, i.e. maximum vortex strength was achieved by a minimum of fluid volume ejected. The subsequent vortex cavitation with the formation of an axial reentrant jet is a reasonable explanation for the large penetration depth of the water jet. That snapping shrimp can reach with their claw-induced flow. Within such a cavitation process, an axial reentrant jet is generated in the hollow cylindrical core of the cavitated vortex that pushes the front further downstream and whose length can exceed the initial jet penetration depth by several times.

Concepts: Volume, Water, Fluid dynamics, Penetration depth, Standard Model, Particle image velocimetry, Vortex, Mantis shrimp


Wing flapping is one of the most widespread propulsion methods found in nature; however, the current understanding of the aerodynamics in bird wakes is incomplete. The role of the unsteady motion in the flow and its contribution to the aerodynamics is still an open question. In the current study, the wake of a freely flying European starling has been investigated using long-duration high-speed Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) in the near wake. Kinematic analysis of the wings and body of the bird has been performed using additional high-speed cameras that recorded the bird movement simultaneously with the PIV measurements. The wake evolution of four complete wingbeats has been characterized through reconstruction of the time-resolved data, and the aerodynamics in the wake have been analyzed in terms of the streamwise forces acting on the bird. The profile drag from classical aerodynamics was found to be positive during most of the wingbeat cycle, yet kinematic images show that the bird does not decelerate. It is shown that unsteady aerodynamics are necessary to satisfy the drag/thrust balance by approximating the unsteady drag term. These findings may shed light on the flight efficiency of birds by providing a partial answer to how they minimize drag during flapping flight.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Bird, Force, Classical mechanics, Particle image velocimetry, Wing, European Starling, Starling


Spatiotemporal tracking of tracer particles or objects of interest can reveal localized behaviors in biological and physical systems. However, existing tracking algorithms are most effective for relatively low numbers of particles that undergo displacements smaller than their typical interparticle separation distance. Here, we demonstrate a single particle tracking algorithm to reconstruct large complex motion fields with large particle numbers, orders of magnitude larger than previously tractably resolvable, thus opening the door for attaining very high Nyquist spatial frequency motion recovery in the images. Our key innovations are feature vectors that encode nearest neighbor positions, a rigorous outlier removal scheme, and an iterative deformation warping scheme. We test this technique for its accuracy and computational efficacy using synthetically and experimentally generated 3D particle images, including non-affine deformation fields in soft materials, complex fluid flows, and cell-generated deformations. We augment this algorithm with additional particle information (e.g., color, size, or shape) to further enhance tracking accuracy for high gradient and large displacement fields. These applications demonstrate that this versatile technique can rapidly track unprecedented numbers of particles to resolve large and complex motion fields in 2D and 3D images, particularly when spatial correlations exist.

Concepts: Algorithm, Mathematics, Fluid dynamics, Measurement, Computer graphics, Metaphysics, Particle image velocimetry, Single particle tracking