We report experimental measurements of the translational and rotational dynamics of a large buoyant sphere in isotropic turbulence. We introduce an efficient method to simultaneously determine the position and (absolute) orientation of a spherical body from visual observation. The method employs a minimization algorithm to obtain the orientation from the 2D projection of a specific pattern drawn onto the surface of the sphere. This has the advantages that it does not require a database of reference images, is easily scalable using parallel processing, and enables accurate absolute orientation reference. Analysis of the sphere’s translational dynamics reveals clear differences between the streamwise and transverse directions. The translational autocorrelations and PDFs provide evidence for periodicity in the particle’s dynamics even under turbulent conditions. The angular autocorrelations show weak periodicity. The angular accelerations exhibit wide tails, however without a directional dependence.
Mathai, V., Neut, M. W. M., van der Poel, E., & Sun, C. (2016). Translational and rotational dynamics of a large buoyant sphere in turbulence. Experiments in fluids, 57(51), 51-. . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00348-016-2136-6