On the turbulent flow in piston engines: Coupling of statistical theory quantities and instantaneous turbulence

Florian Zentgraf, Elias Baum, Benjamin Böhm, Andreas Dreizler, Brian Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planar particle imagevelocimetry(PIV) and tomographic PIV (TPIV) measurements are utilized to analyzeturbulentstatistical theory quantities and the instantaneous turbulence within a single-cylinder optical engine. Measurements are performed during the intake and mid-compression stroke at 800 and 1500 RPM. TPIV facilitates the evaluation of spatially resolved Reynolds stress tensor (RST) distributions, anisotropicReynolds stress invariants, and instantaneous turbulent vortical structures. The RST analysis describes distributions of individual velocity fluctuation components that arise from unsteady turbulentflow behavior as well as cycle-to-cycle variability (CCV). A conditional analysis, for which instantaneous PIVimages are sampled by their tumble center location, reveals that CCV and turbulence have similar contributions to RST distributions at the mean tumble center, but turbulence is dominant in regions peripheral to the tumble center. Analysis of the anisotropicReynolds stress invariants reveals the spatial distribution of axisymmetric expansion, axisymmetric contraction, and 3D isotropy within the cylinder. Findings indicate that the mid-compression flow exhibits a higher tendency toward 3D isotropy than the intake flow. A novel post-processing algorithm is utilized to classify the geometry of instantaneous turbulent vortical structures and evaluate their frequency of occurrence within the cylinder. Findings are coupled with statistical theory quantities to provide a comprehensive understanding of the distribution of turbulent velocity components, the distribution of anisotropic states of turbulence, and compare the turbulent vortical flow distribution that is theoretically expected to what is experimentally observed. The analyses reveal requisites of important turbulentflow quantities and discern their sensitivity to the local flow topography and engine operation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045108
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number4
Early online date15 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Particle image velocimetry (PIV)
  • 3D engine flows


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