Experiments in Fluids

, 59:128 | Cite as

Bichromatic synthetic schlieren applied to surface wave measurements

  • Jostein Kolaas
  • Bjørn Hervold Riise
  • Kristian Sveen
  • Atle JensenEmail author
Research Article


The present paper provides an introduction to bichromatic synthetic schlieren (BiCSS) for surface measurements, a novel extension of the free surface synthetic schlieren (FS-SS) by Moisy et al. (Exp Fluids 46:1021–1036, 2009). The new technique is based on the fact that light diffraction through a medium varies with wavelength. Therefore, one may apply light at two different wavelengths to measure the change in density gradient in a medium. This paper explores the use of the difference between blue visual and near-infrared light, but the choice of wavelengths will typically depend on the application. Calibration was performed using stationary targets of plexiglass and the results show that the new BiCSS technique improves accuracy for large surface gradients, compared to the traditional FS-SS technique. In order to test the applicability of the technique in the laboratory, two sets of experiments were performed. Firstly, an experiment using phase-locked regular waves was conducted for comparing BiCSS with FS-SS, analyze the properties and give an estimation of the error. Secondly, to investigate the applicability for more complex surface patterns, a study on a vertical surface-piercing cylinder exposed to a focused wave was conducted, obtaining the complex surface characteristics. The new technique clearly reveals nonlinear wave diffraction, in addition to cross waves and parasitic capillary waves.



The study has been carried out with financial support from Stiftelsen Det Norske Veritas, DNV GL and The Research Council of Norway through grant number 231491: Developments in Optical Measurement Technologies (DOMT). Technical assistance during the experimental work by Head Engineer Olav Gundersen is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.DNV GLOsloNorway
  3. 3.Insitute for Energy TechnologyKjellerNorway

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