Journal article

Liquid Water Content and Droplet Sizing Shadowgraph Measuring System for Wind Turbine Icing Detection


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Publication Details


Publisher: IEEE Sensors Council

Publication year: 2016

Start page: 2714

End page: 2725

Number of pages: 12

ISSN: 1530-437X


View additional information: View in Web of Science


This study shows that the liquid water content (LWC) and the median volume diameter (MVD) can be derived from images of water droplets using a shadowgraph imaging system with incoherent LED illumination.

Icing on structures such as a wind turbine is the result of a combination of LWC and MVD and other parameters like temperature, humidity and wind speed. Today, LWC and MVD are not commonly measured for wind turbines. Systems for measuring these properties are often expensive or impractical in terms of location or remote reading. The aim of this study is to gain knowledge about how to design a single instrument based on imaging that has the ability to measure these properties with enough precision and accuracy to detect icing conditions for wind turbines.

A method to calculate both the LWC and the MVD from the same images is described in this paper. The size of one droplet is determined by measuring the shadow created by the droplet in background illumination. The concentration is calculated by counting the measured droplets and estimating the volumes in which these droplets can be observed.

In the described study, the observation volume is shown to be dependent on the particle size and the signal to noise ratio (SNR) for each measured particle. An expected coefficient of variation of the LWC depending on the droplet size is shown to be 2.4 percent for droplets 10 µm in diameter and 1.6 percent for 25 µm droplets. This is based on an error estimation of the laboratory measurements calibrated using a micrometer dot scale.


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