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Sensors 2016, 16(2), 218; doi:10.3390/s16020218

Spray Droplet Characterization from a Single Nozzle by High Speed Image Analysis Using an In-Focus Droplet Criterion

1
The Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Technology and Food Science Unit, Agricultural Engineering. Burgemeester Van Gansberghelaan 115, bus 1, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
2
Agrosup Dijon, Joint Research Unit Agroecology—26 Bd Dr Petitjean, BP 87999, Dijon cedex 21079, France
3
Department of Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, Ghent 9000, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 November 2015 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Agriculture)

Abstract

Accurate spray characterization helps to better understand the pesticide spray application process. The goal of this research was to present the proof of principle of a droplet size and velocity measuring technique for different types of hydraulic spray nozzles using a high speed backlight image acquisition and analysis system. As only part of the drops of an agricultural spray can be in focus at any given moment, an in-focus criterion based on the gray level gradient was proposed to decide whether a given droplet is in focus or not. In a first experiment, differently sized droplets were generated with a piezoelectric generator and studied to establish the relationship between size and in-focus characteristics. In a second experiment, it was demonstrated that droplet sizes and velocities from a real sprayer could be measured reliably in a non-intrusive way using the newly developed image acquisition set-up and image processing. Measured droplet sizes ranged from 24 μm to 543 μm, depending on the nozzle type and size. Droplet velocities ranged from around 0.5 m/s to 12 m/s. The droplet size and velocity results were compared and related well with the results obtained with a Phase Doppler Particle Analyzer (PDPA). View Full-Text
Keywords: high speed image analysis; spray characterization; piezoelectric droplet generator;  in-focus criterion high speed image analysis; spray characterization; piezoelectric droplet generator;  in-focus criterion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Minov, S.V.; Cointault, F.; Vangeyte, J.; Pieters, J.G.; Nuyttens, D. Spray Droplet Characterization from a Single Nozzle by High Speed Image Analysis Using an In-Focus Droplet Criterion. Sensors 2016, 16, 218.

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