4D Magnetic resonance velocimetry for mean velocity measurements in complex turbulent flows

C. J. Elkins, M. Markl, N. Pelc, J. K. Eaton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


An adaptation of a medical magnetic resonance imaging system to the noninvasive measurement of three-component mean velocity fields in complex turbulent engineering flows is described. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the capabilities of the technique with respect to its accuracy, time efficiency and applicability as a design tool for complex turbulent internal geometries. The technique, called 4D magnetic resonance velocimetry (4D-MRV), is used to measure the mean flow in fully developed low-Reynolds number turbulent pipe flow, Re=6400 based on bulk mean velocity and diameter, and in a model of a gas turbine blade internal cooling geometry with four serpentine passages, Re=10,000 and 15,000 based on bulk mean velocity and hydraulic diameter. 4D-MRV is capable of completing full-field measurements in three-dimensional volumes with sizes on the order of the magnet bore diameter in less than one hour. Such measurements can include over 2 million independent mean velocity vectors. Velocities measured in round pipe flow agreed with previous experimental results to within 10%. In the turbulent cooling passage flow, the average flow rates calculated from the 4D-MRV velocity profiles agreed with ultrasonic flowmeter measurements to within 7%. The measurements lend excellent qualitative insight into flow structures even in the highly complex 180° bends. Accurate quantitative measurements were obtained throughout the Re=10,000 flow and in the Re=15,000 flow except in the most complex regions, areas just downstream of high-speed bends, where velocities and velocity fluctuations exceeded MRV capabilities for the chosen set of scan parameters. General guidelines for choosing scanning parameters and suggestions for future development are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-503
Number of pages10
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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