Flow Visualization of a Shock Wave by Simple Refraction of a Background Grid

  • P. A. Thompson
  • Y.-G. Kim
  • G. E. A. Meier
Conference paper
Part of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics book series (IUTAM)


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.


Shock Front Shock Tube Grid Line Photographic Image Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Thompson
    • 1
  • Y.-G. Kim
    • 1
  • G. E. A. Meier
    • 2
  1. 1.Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für StrömungsforschungGöttingenDeutschland

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