Homepage Inria website

Section: Scientific Foundations

Fluid motion analysis

Flow visualization has been a powerful tool to depict or to understand flow feature properties. Efforts to develop high-quality flow visualization techniques date back over a century. The analysis of the recorded images consisted firstly to a qualitative interpretation of the streak lines leading to an overall global insight into the flow properties but lacking quantitative details on important parameters such as velocity fields or turbulence intensities. Point measurement tools such as hot wire probes or Laser Doppler Velocimetry have typically provided these details. As these probes give information only at the point where they are placed, simultaneous evaluations at different points require to dispose a very large number of probes and the evaluation of unsteady field (most of the flows are unsteady) is almost unachievable with them.

In an effort to avoid the limitations of these probes, the Particle Image Velocimetry (piv ), a non-intrusive diagnostic technique, has been developed in the last two decades [42] . The piv technique enables obtaining velocity fields by seeding the flow with particles (e.g. dye, smoke, particles) and observing the motion of these tracers. In computer vision, the estimation of the projection of the apparent motion of a 3D scene onto the image plane, refereed in the literature as optical-flow, is an intensive subject of researches since the 80's and the seminal work of B. Horn and B. Schunk [48] . Unlike to dense optical flow estimators, the former approach provides techniques that supply only sparse velocity fields. These methods have demonstrated to be robust and to provide accurate measurements for flows seeded with particles. These restrictions and their inherent discrete local nature limit too much their use and prevent any evolutions of these techniques towards the devising of methods supplying physically consistent results and small scale velocity measurements. It does not authorize also the use of scalar images exploited in numerous situations to visualize flows (image showing the diffusion of a scalar such as dye, pollutant, light index refraction, flurocein,...). At the opposite, variational techniques enable in a well-established mathematical framework to estimate spatially continuous velocity fields, which should allow more properly to go towards the measurement of smaller motion scales. As these methods are defined through PDE's systems they allow quite naturally including as constraints the kinematical and dynamical laws governing the observed fluid flows. Besides, within this framework it is also much easier to define characteristic features estimation on the basis of physically grounded data model that describes the relation linking the observed luminance function and some state variables of the observed flow. This route has demonstrated to be much more robust to scalar image. Several studies in this vein have strengthened our skills in this domain. All the following approaches have been either formulated within a statistical Markov Random Fields modeling or either within a variational framework. For a thorough description of these approaches see [7] .

ICE data model and div-curl regularization This fluid motion estimator is constructed on a data model derived from the Integration of the Continuity Equation (ICE data model) [5] and includes a second order regularization scheme enabling to preserve blobs of divergence and curl. Intensive evaluations of this estimator on flow prototypes mastered in laboratory have shown that this estimator led to the same order of accuracy as the best PIV techniques but for an increase information density. This ability to get dense flow fields allowed us estimating proper vorticity or divergence maps without resorting to additional post-processing interpolation schemes.

Schlieren Image velocimetry We have addressed the problem of estimating the motion of fluid flows visualized with the Schlieren technique. Such an experimental visualization system is well known in fluid mechanics and it enables the visualization of unseeded flows. This technique authorizes the capture of phenomena that are impossible to visualize with particle seeding such as natural convection, phonation flow, breath flow and allows the setting of large scale experiments. Since the resulting images exhibit very low intensity contrasts, classical motion estimation methods based on the brightness constancy assumption (correlation-based approaches, optical flow methods) are completely inefficient. The global energy function we have defined for Schlieren images is composed of i) a specific data model accounting for the fact that the observed luminance is related to the gradient of the fluid density, and ii) a specific constrained div-curl regularization term. To date there exists no motion estimator allowing estimating accurately dense velocity fields on Schlieren images.

Low order fluid motion estimator This low-dimensional fluid motion estimator [6] is based on the Helmholtz decomposition, which consists in representing the velocity field as the sum of a divergence-free component and a curl-free one. In order to provide a low-dimensional solution, both components have been approximated using a discretization of the vorticity (curl of the velocity vector) and divergence maps through regularized Dirac measures [47] . The resulting so-called irrotational (resp. solenoidal) field is then represented by a linear combination of basis functions obtained by a convolution product of the Green kernel gradient and the vorticity map (resp. the divergence map). The coefficient values and the basis function parameters are obtained by minimizing a function formed by an integrated version of the mass conservation principle of fluid mechanics.

Potential functions estimation and finite mimetic differences We have studied a direct estimation approach of the flow potential functions (respectively the stream function and the velocity potential) from two consecutive images. The estimation has been defined on the basis of a high order regularization scheme and has been implemented through mimetic difference methods[12] . With these approaches the discretization preserves basic relationships of continuous vector analysis. Compared to previous discretization scheme based on auxiliary div-curl variables, the considered technique appeared to be numerically much more stable and led to an improve accuracy.

2D and 3D atmospheric motion layer estimation In this study, we have explored the problem of estimating mesoscales dynamics of atmospheric layers from satellite image sequences. Due to the intrinsic sparse 3-dimensional nature of clouds and to large occluded zones caused by the successive overlapping of cloud layers, the estimation of accurate layered dense motion fields is an intricate issue. Relying on a physically sound vertical decomposition of the atmosphere into layers, we have proposed two dense motion estimators for the extraction of multi-layer horizontal (2D) and 3D wind fields. These estimators are expressed as the minimization of a global function that includes a data-driven term and a spatio-temporal smoothness term. A robust data term relying on shallow-water mass conservation model has been proposed to fit sparse observations related to each layer. In the 3D case, the layers are interconnected through a term modeling mass exchanges at the layers surfaces frontiers [9] .

A novel spatio-temporal regularizer derived from the shallow-water momentum conservation model has been considered to enforce temporal consistency of the solution along time. These constraints are combined with a robust second-order regularizer preserving divergent and vorticity structures of the flow. Besides, a two-level motion estimation scheme has been settled to overcome the limitations of the multiresolution incremental estimation scheme when capturing the dynamics of fine mesoscale structures. This alternative approach relies on the combination of correlation and optical-flow observations. An exhaustive evaluation of the novel method has been first performed on a scalar image sequence generated by Direct Numerical Simulation of a turbulent bi-dimensional flow. Based on qualitative experimental comparisons, the method has also been assessed on a Meteosat infrared image sequence.