Skip to Main Content
In this paper, a novel methodology to measure trajectory and terminal velocity of volcanic ash in laboratory is presented. The methodology consists of the following: (1) planning a lab-scale experiment in order to reproduce the sedimentation processes of fine volcanic ash based on the principle of dynamic similarity; (2) realizing the experimental setup using a glass tank filled with glycerine, a webcam-based vision system and a dedicated image postprocessing tool able to estimate the position and the terminal velocity of any particle falling in the tank; (3) performing a calibration procedure to accurately estimate the uncertainty on particle velocity; and (4) comparing the experimental results with estimations obtained by some particle fallout models available in literature. Our results show that there is a good agreement between experimental terminal velocities and those obtained applying a model which includes information on particle shape. The proposed methodology allows us to investigate how the particle shape affects the sedimentation processes. Since the latter is strategic to improve the accuracy on modeling ash fallout, this work will contribute to reduce risks to aviations during explosive eruptions.