Flow Visualization of a Shock Wave by Simple Refraction of a Background Grid
Experiments with high-molecular-weight fluids yield large absolute density changes across gas-phase shock waves, producing correspondingly large changes in the index of refraction n. In the experiments described here, the change Δn across the shock is of order 10-2. Simple photography of the shock against a ruled background grid shows a visible shockfront by refraction of the grid lines. Comparison of the photographic image with an image generated by optical ray tracing yields a measurement of the density behind the shock.
KeywordsShock Front Shock Tube Grid Line Photographic Image Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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