New tracking algorithm for particle image velocimetry Academic Article uri icon


  • The cross correlation tracking technique is widely used to analyze image data, in Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). The technique assumes that the fluid motion, within small regions of the flow field, is parallel over short time intervals. However, actual flow fields may have some distorted motion, such as rotation, shear and expansion. Therefore, if the distortion of the flow field is not negligible, the fluid motion can not be tracked well using the cross correlation technique. In this study, a new algorithm for particle tracking, called the Spring Model technique, has been proposed. The algorithm can be applied to flow fields which exhibit characteristics such as rotation, shear and expansion. The algorithm is based on pattern matching of particle clusters between the first and second image. A particle cluster is composed of particles which are assumed to be connected by invisible elastic springs. Depending on the deformation of the cluster pattern (i.e., the particle positions), the invisible springs have some forces. The smallest force pattern in the second image is the most probable pattern match to the correspondent original pattern in the first image. Therefore, by finding the best matches, particle movements can be tracked between the two images. Three-dimensional flow fields can also be reconstructed with this technique. The effectiveness of the Spring Model technique was verified with synthetic data from both a two-dimensional flow and three-dimensional flow. It showed a high degree of accuracy, even for the three-dimensional calculation. The experimental data from a vortex flow field in a cylinder wake was also measured by the Spring model technique. 1995 Springer-Verlag.

published proceedings

  • Experiments in Fluids

author list (cited authors)

  • Okamoto, K., Hassan, Y. A., & Schmidl, W. D.

citation count

  • 84

complete list of authors

  • Okamoto, K||Hassan, YA||Schmidl, WD

publication date

  • September 1995