Visualizing Real World Flows
Professor Steve Wereley, Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering
- 18:30, May 13, 2018
Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is a laboratory tool that many fluid mechanics professionals use to measure flows in their labs where experimental conditions can be perfectly controlled. However, quite often scientists need to know about flows in the real world. One example where fluid mechanics professionals must work in the field under non-ideal conditions is that of oil spilling into the environment. While the size of many oil spills is known because a fixed volume of oil has spilled out of a damage oil tanker, for many others, the size of the spill is not. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the USA in 2010 occurred when the oil company lost control of an oil well and oil poured unrestrainedly into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 3 months (see picture below). In order to assess the amount of damage caused by the oil spill, Professor Wereley used quantitative flow visualization to estimate the size of the oil spill. This approach was shown to be much more accurate than other methods that were used to measure the size of the oil spill.