Infrared surface anemometer developed with the help of a gSKIN® Heat Flux Sensor

Scientists at ETH Zurich’s Department of Environmental Systems Science developed an infrared surface anemometer. They used a gSKIN®Heat Flux Sensor from greenTEG in their research. The research has been published in Boundary-Layer Meteorology.

Characteristics of Turbulent Airflow Deduced from Rapid Surface Thermal Fluctuations: An Infrared Surface Anemometer
Authors: Milad Aminzadeh, Daniel Breitenstein, and Dani Or
Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 165, Issue 3, pp 519–534, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10546-017-0279-5


Abstract: The intermittent nature of turbulent airflow interacting with the surface is readily observable in fluctuations of the surface temperature resulting from the thermal imprints of eddies sweeping the surface. Rapid infrared thermography has recently been used to quantify characteristics of the near-surface turbulent airflow interacting with the evaporating surfaces. We aim to extend this technique by using single-point rapid infrared measurements to quantify properties of a turbulent flow, including surface exchange processes, with a view towards the development of an infrared surface anemometer. The parameters for the surface-eddy renewal (α and β) are inferred from infrared measurements of a single-point on the surface of a heat plate placed in a wind tunnel with prescribed wind speeds and constant mean temperatures of the surface. Thermally-deduced parameters are in agreement with values obtained from standard three-dimensional ultrasonic anemometer measurements close to the plate surface (e.g., α=3 and β=1/26 (ms)−1 for the infrared, and α=3 and β=1/19 (ms)−1β=1/19 (ms)−1 for the sonic-anemometer measurements). The infrared-based turbulence parameters provide new insights into the role of surface temperature and buoyancy on the inherent characteristics of interacting eddies. The link between the eddy-spectrum shape parameter α and the infrared window size representing the infrared field of view is investigated. The results resemble the effect of the sampling height above the ground in sonic anemometer measurements, which enables the detection of larger eddies with higher values of α. The physical basis and tests of the proposed method support the potential for remote quantification of the near-surface momentum field, as well as scalar-flux measurements in the immediate vicinity of the surface.

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