Source Inversion by Forward Integration in Inertial Flows (Unknown language)

In: Computer Graphics Forum   ;  35 ,  3  ;  371-380  ;  2016
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Inertial particles are finite-sized objects traveling with a certain velocity that differs from the underlying carrying flow, i.e., they are mass-dependent and subject to inertia. Their backward integration is in practice infeasible, since a slight change in the initial velocity causes extreme changes in the recovered position. Thus, if an inertial particle is observed, it is difficult to recover where it came from. This is known as the source inversion problem, which has many practical applications in recovering the source of airborne or waterborne pollutions. Inertial trajectories live in a higher dimensional spatio-velocity space. In this paper, we show that this space is only sparsely populated. Assuming that inertial particles are released with a given initial velocity (e.g., from rest), particles may reach a certain location only with a limited set of possible velocities. In fact, with increasing integration duration and dependent on the particle response time, inertial particles converge to a terminal velocity. We show that the set of initial positions that lead to the same location form a curve. We extract these curves by devising a derived vector field in which they appear as tangent curves. Most importantly, the derived vector field only involves forward integrated flow map gradients, which are much more stable to compute than backward trajectories. After extraction, we interactively visualize the curves in the domain and display the reached velocities using glyphs. In addition, we encode the rate of change of the terminal velocity along the curves, which gives a notion for the convergence to the terminal velocity. With this, we present the first solution to the source inversion problem that considers actual inertial trajectories. We apply the method to steady and unsteady flows in both 2D and 3D domains.