Translational and rotational dynamics of a large buoyant sphere in turbulence

Varghese Mathai, M.W.M. Neut, Erwin van der Poel, Chao Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number51
Pages (from-to)51-
Number of pages10
JournalExperiments in fluids
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016


  • IR-100136
  • METIS-316248


Dive into the research topics of 'Translational and rotational dynamics of a large buoyant sphere in turbulence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this