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Various Systems Used in Flow Visualization: Smoke, Hot Wire, Spark Techniques

Flow visualization is a process that allows you to see the movement of fluids in a system. It’s used in many industries, including manufacturing and engineering. There are several systems that can be used for flow visualization, including smoke, hot wire, and spark techniques.

Importance of Airflow Visualization in Aviation

The aviation industry presents the world with multiple aircrafts that allows us to soar through the air. However, we cannot easily conduct experiments in the air as the risk is too high. Hence, the usage of flow visualization on objects such as airfoils help engineers to determine whether an airfoil would safely and properly generate lift as air flows through it. The information that we gain from these visualizations allow us to adjust our designs and reduce the risks once these designs are used in real life situations.

Once these designs have been implemented and created, the engineering behind it will then show results in a way that the aircraft is able to generate lift properly with a decreased chance of risks of which may lead to accidents. That being said, it is always important to conduct experiments before actually letting the designs operate in the field, hence, flow visualization, being part of many experiments in the aviation industry, is a crucial part of aviation.

Flight research facilities use flow visualization techniques to complement the different sources of aerodynamic information to help interpret test results if a particular design is efficient and what improvements we can make to make it more efficient.

In addition, flow visualization contributes to a deeper understanding of how fluid mechanics works. The flow visualization contributes to the enhancement of the desired aerodynamic result. It helps the aviation industry create to simulate the performance of an aircraft during flight by using any flow visualization techniques. The flow visualization provides information about different parameters’ flow regimes, distributions, and characteristics. Flow visualization allows researchers to analyze various flow fields and aerodynamic elements without extensive data processing.

Systems used in Flow Visualization

Smoke Techniques

Smoke is created by introducing a small amount of oil into a fluid stream to produce a visible cloud. The oil has a higher density than the fluid being analyzed so it sinks to the bottom of the pipe and forms droplets which then rise to form a cloud. This technique allows you to see how much energy is required for different fluids to move through pipes or other systems.

Hot Wire Techniques

This technique uses an electric current to heat up wires placed inside pipes or other equipment to visualize how much energy is required for different fluids to move through pipes or other equipment. The heat from the wires creates bubbles which rise through the fluid creating “hot spots” within it that can be seen with cameras equipped with special filters designed specifically for use with this type of equipment.

Spark Techniques

This technique uses an electrical spark created by sending an electrical current through two electrodes placed at opposite ends of the system being studied such as a tank or pipe containing water or another liquid substance.

Difference between Smoke, Hot Wire, Spark Techniques

Smoke TechniqueThe Smoke Technique entails merely putting a number of fine smoke filaments into the working section of a wind tunnel. Moreover, this technique is used to capture the instantaneous streamlines formation off the surface of the wind tunnel model.
Hot Wire TechniqueThe Hot Wire Technique involves with the use of a heated wire inserted into the airstream. This will produce a filament of air of different density from the mainstream.
Spark TechniqueThe Spark Technique involves small volumes of air that are heated by the discharge of a series of electric sparks. Moreover, an optical system is used in order to trace paths of such particles.