Experiments in Fluids

, 55:1782 | Cite as

Schlieren-based techniques for investigating instability development and transition in a hypersonic boundary layer

  • S. J. LaurenceEmail author
  • A. Wagner
  • K. Hannemann
Research Article


Three variants of schlieren techniques are employed to investigate the development of second-mode instability waves in the hypersonic boundary layer of a slender cone in a reflected shock tunnel. First, a previously proposed technique using high frame rate (i.e., at least as high as the dominant instability frequency) schlieren visualization with a continuous light source is shown to provide repeatable measurements of the instability propagation speed and frequency. A modified version of the technique is then introduced whereby a pulsed light source allows the use of a higher-resolution camera with a lower frame rate: this provides significant benefits in terms of spatial resolution and total recording time. A detailed picture of the surface-normal intensity distribution for individual wave packets is obtained, and the images provide comprehensive insight into the unsteady flow structures within the boundary layer. Finally, two-point schlieren deflectometry is implemented and shown to be capable of providing second-mode growth information in the challenging shock tunnel environment.


Wave Packet Shock Tunnel Amplification Rate Hypersonic Boundary Layer Pulse Light Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank the HEG staff, in particular Jan Martinez Schramm, Ingo Schwendtke, Mario Jünemann, and Sarah Trost for assistance in preparing the model and running the tunnel; we are also grateful to N. Parziale for elucidating the FLDI technique.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (wmv 36857 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spacecraft Department, Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow TechnologyGerman Aerospace CenterGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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