Image analysis technique applied to lock-exchange gravity currents
An image analysis technique is used to estimate the two-dimensional instantaneous density field of unsteady gravity currents produced by full-depth lock-release of saline water. An experiment reproducing a gravity current was performed in a 3.0 m long, 0.20 m wide and 0.30 m deep Perspex flume with horizontal smooth bed and recorded with a 25 Hz CCD video camera under controlled light conditions. Using dye concentration as a tracer, a calibration procedure was established for each pixel in the image relating the amount of dye uniformly distributed in the tank and the greyscale values in the corresponding images. The results are evaluated and corrected by applying the mass conservation principle within the experimental tank. The procedure is a simple way to assess the time-varying density distribution within the gravity current, allowing the investigation of gravity current dynamics and mixing processes.