Quartz fibre anemometers have been used (as described in subsequent papers) to survey the velocity field of turbulent free convective air flows. This paper discusses the reasons for the choice of this instrument and provides the background information for its use in this way. Some practical points concerning fibre anemometers are mentioned. The rest of the paper is a theoretical study of the response of a fibre to a turbulent flow. An approximate representation of the force on the fibre due to the velocity field and the equation for a bending beam, representing the response to this force, form the basis of a consideration of the mean and fluctuating displacement of the fibre. Emphasis is placed on the behaviour when the spectrum of the turbulence is largely in frequencies low enough for the fibre to respond effectively instantaneously (as this corresponds to the practical situation). Incomplete correlation of the turbulence along the length of the fibre is taken into account. Brief mention is made to the theory of the higher-frequency (resonant) response in the context of an experimental check on the applicability of the low-frequency theory.
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