Development and characterization of a high-efficiency, aircraft-based axial cyclone cloud water collector

Ewan Crosbie, Matthew D. Brown, Michael Shook, Luke Ziemba, Richard H. Moore, Taylor Shingler, Edward Winstead, K. Lee Thornhill, Claire Robinson, Alexander B. Macdonald, Hossein Dadashazar, Armin Sorooshian, Andreas Beyersdorf, Alexis Eugene, Jeffrey Collett, Derek Straub, Bruce Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A new aircraft-mounted probe for collecting samples of cloud water has been designed, fabricated, and extensively tested. Following previous designs, the probe uses inertial separation to remove cloud droplets from the airstream, which are subsequently collected and stored for offline analysis. We report details of the design, operation, and modelled and measured probe performance.

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to understand the flow patterns around the complex interior geometrical features that were optimized to ensure efficient droplet capture. CFD simulations coupled with particle tracking and multiphase surface transport modelling provide detailed estimates of the probe performance across the entire range of flight operating conditions and sampling scenarios.

Physical operation of the probe was tested on a Lockheed C-130 Hercules (fuselage mounted) and de Havilland Twin Otter (wing pylon mounted) during three airborne field campaigns. During C-130 flights on the final field campaign, the probe reflected the most developed version of the design and a median cloud water collection rate of 4.5 mL minĝ'1 was achieved. This allowed samples to be collected over 1-2 min under optimal cloud conditions. Flights on the Twin Otter featured an inter-comparison of the new probe with a slotted-rod collector, which has an extensive airborne campaign legacy. Comparison of trace species concentrations showed good agreement between collection techniques, with absolute concentrations of most major ions agreeing within 30 %, over a range of several orders of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5025-5048
Number of pages24
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 5 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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