© 2019

Introduction to Simple Shock Waves in Air

With Numerical Solutions Using Artificial Viscosity


  • Helps solve nonlinear equations of fluid flow in the presence of shocks

  • Includes results of numerical examples compared with theoretical predictions to solidify the concepts

  • Results arise from the numerical solution using Mathcad


Part of the Shock Wave and High Pressure Phenomena book series (SHOCKWAVE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Seán Prunty
    Pages 35-79
  3. Seán Prunty
    Pages 111-156
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 243-247

About this book


This book provides an elementary introduction to some one-dimensional fluid flow problems involving shock waves in air.  The differential equations of fluid flow are approximated by finite difference equations and these in turn are numerically integrated in a stepwise manner. Artificial viscosity is introduced into the numerical calculations in order to deal with shocks. The presentation is restricted to the finite-difference approach to solve the coupled differential equations of fluid flow as distinct from finite-volume or finite-element methods. This text presents the results arising from the numerical solution using Mathcad programming. Both plane and spherical shock waves are discussed with particular emphasis on very strong explosive shocks in air. 

This text will appeal to students, researchers, and professionals in shock wave research and related fields. Students in particular will appreciate the benefits of numerical methods in fluid mechanics and the level of presentation.


finite difference equations compressible flow rankine hugoniot equations Spherical shock waves shock waves in air finite-difference approach plane shock waves gas dynamics course compressible fluid dynamics course

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.BallincolligIreland

About the authors

Dr. Seán Prunty is a former senior lecturer in electrical and electronic engineering at University College Cork Ireland. He has a primary degree and a Ph.D. degree, both in experimental physics, from the University of Dublin, Trinity College. He has thirty years of teaching experience and has carried out research in such areas as atomic physics and laser technology as well as in far-infrared polarimetry and electromagnetic scattering for plasma physics applications. He collaborated for many years on research in the fusion energy research area in Italy, England and Switzerland. Since his retirement in 2009 he has taken a particular interest in shock wave propagation.

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