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  • PIV Seeding – Microparticle Recommendations

    Flow Visualization can best be accomplished with colored or fluorescent tracing particles of the same density as the fluid being studied.Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is the term used for imaging the fluid flow using colored tracer particles.  Through high speed particle imaging the velocity of the particles can be obtained and mapped.

    Photo Courtesy of Wiki-CommonsFor PIV experiments in water there are a wide variety of 1g/ml microspheres available as seeding particles, Cospheric offers polyethylene seeding particles in a variety of colors (fluorescent and non-fluorescent) and sizes from 10-20um, on up to 1mm.

    Particle size selection is important to ensure that observations can be accurately made.  For imaging systems without any magnification or unaided human observation it is recommended to use micro-spheres that are larger than 200um.   Human eyes can resolve features down to about 75um, at 200um+ the particles will be large enough to be discernible.

    Correctly seeding the system is also important.  For most applications loadings of 0.1-0.3% are sufficient.  This is the equivalent of about 1 gram of particles per gallon of fluid in systems of 10-50 gallons (40-200 liters) .  Exact loading levels will depend on the individual experiment requirements.

    For aqueous systems, polyethylene micro-particles will require a surfactant to wet properly.  For general flow studies pre-wetting the PE microspheres with Simple Green concentrated cleaner works well.  For biological systems a bio-compatable surfactant such as Tween 20 or Tween 80 is recommended.

    Seeding particle color selection is important to ensure that sufficient contrast is achieved during testing.  Very bright fluorescent micro-particles are available in densities of 1g/cc  these offer not only bright testing under daylight conditions, but also the option of illumination with lasers or uv lights for increased system contrast.

    The recommended PIV seeding particles are available from Cospheric.

    For green lasers (530nm)  we recommend UVPMS-BR
    For dark backgrounds: UVPMS-BY, UVPMS-BG, BLPMS, ORGPMS, BSPMS, or WPMS
    For light backgrounds: GRYPMS, VIOPMS, UVPMS-BR, UVPMS-BO