Flow velocity and temperature sensing using thermosensitive fluorescent polymer seed particles in water

Filippo Cellini, Sean D. Peterson, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is an experimental technique that uses microscale particles as tracers to measure the velocity of a fluid flow. In this paper, we seek to extend this technique to simultaneously measure fluid temperature as well, by employing a novel class of thermosensitive polymer particles. Towards this aim, we designed a process to encapsulate highly fluorescent thermosensitive NBD-AE-co-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) polymers into optically transparent poly(dimethylsiloxane) particles. These novel PIV particles enable direct measurement of water velocity while serving as temperature probes that increase their fluorescence intensity when the temperature rises above 32 °C. To demonstrate the ability of the particles to simultaneously serve as flow tracers and temperature sensors in water, we examine the flow velocity and temperature in the wake of a heated cylinder in a cross flow. Our results indicate the possibility of extending PIV to afford the spatial and temporal resolution of fluid velocity and temperature gradients in water, with potential application to the study of convection problems from life sciences to engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-252
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Smart and Nano Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017


  • Fluorescence sensing
  • particle image velocimetry
  • temperature sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials


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