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Technical Seminar Report

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of

Bachelor of Technology
Aeronautical Engineering

Department of Aeronautical Engineering

Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad.

For speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, M > 5, the flow is said to be
hypersonic. Hypersonic flow is characterized by phenomena such as thin shock layer, viscous
interaction, viscous dissipation and high temperature. These conditions lead to complex flow
properties close to the body and temperature of fluid close to the body becomes non equilibrium and the ideal gas theories do not apply.
In the case of hypersonic flow, CFD cannot be solely relied upon as the physics of hypersonic
flows is different to that of subsonic or supersonic flows. Shock tunnel facilities have been
used widely to verify CFD codes, explore the physics of real gas effects and to test
hypersonic vehicles.
There are many different ways to generate a source of air at a sufficiently high temperature
and pressure to act as the working fluid of a hypersonic wind tunnel. This includes hotshot
tunnels, plasma jets, shock tunnels, free-piston tunnels, and light gas guns. Shock tunnels use
a high-pressure gas to set up a shock wave which will compress a low-pressure gas and heat
it to very high temperatures. It consists of two tubes separated by a diaphragm. One of the
tubes is filled with a driver gas at a high pressure and the other tube is filled with a driven gas
at a low pressure. The diaphragm between the two tubes is ruptured and the high-pressure
driver gas rushes into the driven section, setting up a shock wave which compresses and heats
the driven gas.
Shock tunnels are wind tunnels that operate at high Mach number for time intervals up to a
few milliseconds by using air heated and compressed in a shock tube. The shock tunnel
consists of a shock tube, a secondary diaphragm, a nozzle attached to the end of the driven
section of the shock tube, a model test section and a damp tank. In this present report various
aspects of shock tube namely, design calculation, Experimental measurements using normal
shock relation is performed. Shock tube is designed to analyze the deformation with varying
frequency, also various flow visualization techniques are discussed and compared.



1. Introduction .................................................................................................................. iii

2. Description ..................................................................................................................... 2
3. Principle Operation ........................................................................................................ 3
4. Design Calculation ......................................................................................................... 4
5. Experimental Measurement ........................................................................................... 9
6. Shock Tube Analysis ................................................................................................... 10
7. Flow Visualization Techniques.................................................................................... 12
i. Schlieren Technique.....12
ii. Shadography Technique...14
iii. Comparison..14
8. Glossary....15
9. Reference.16



Figure (1): Schematic diagram of Shock Tunnel..2

Figure (2): Conditions in the shock tube before Diaphragm rupture....3
Figure (3): Conditions in the shock tube after diaphragm rupture....3
Figure (4): Reflection of incident shock from the end-wall..6
Figure (5): Variation of incident and reflected shock Mach numbers...7
Figure (6): Shock strength as function of initial pressure ratio, using air in both sections....7
Figure (7): Pressure transducer location.9
Figure (8): Pressure inside the shock tube..9
Figure (9): Temperature profile inside the shock tube...9
Figure(10): Shock tube Analysis at Natural frequency (f =10)10
Figure (11): Shock tube Analysis at Natural frequency (f =11)...11
Figure (12): Schlieren System..12
Figure (13): Schlieren Z-Type Flow Visualization setup.12
Figure (14): Shadowgraphy Technique setup..14


The shock tube is an instrument used to replicate and direct blast waves at a sensor or a
model in order to simulate actual explosions and their effects, usually on a smaller scale.
Shock tubes (and related impulse facilities such as shock tunnels, expansion tubes, and
expansion tunnels) can also be used to study aerodynamic flow under a wide range of
temperatures and pressures that are difficult to obtain in other types of testing facilities.
Shock tubes are also used to investigate compressible flow phenomena and gas
phase combustion reactions. More recently, shock tubes have been used in biomedical
research to study how biological specimens are affected by blast waves.
A distinct feature of flight at hypersonic Mach numbers is the occurrence of real gas effects
due to the passage of air through the bow shock wave in front of the vehicle which results in
the sudden increase of temperature and pressure. The temperature rise is proportional to the
square of the speed, for sufficiently high-speed flights. On some parts of the vehicle, such as
nose or leading edge, the temperature rise may be high enough even to dissociate and ionize
air molecules. This results in the altering of the flow characteristics over the vehicle and
constitutes the real gas effects which are very difficult to analyze theoretically. Thus, these
effects are often estimated experimentally by simulating the hypersonic flow over scaleddown models of the prototypes.
In a blow down type hypersonic wind tunnel, the required flow Mach number in the test
section is achieved by decreasing the free stream temperature which results in reducing the
speed of sound leading to corresponding increase in the Mach number. The upper limit on the
Mach number is imposed for a given reservoir temperature by condensation of the test gas in
the test section. Thus conventional blow down type hypersonic wind tunnels are capable of
producing high flow Mach numbers but without accompanying high temperatures to simulate
real gas effects. This regime is usually referred to as Mach- Reynolds-simulation (Hornung
1988) in which air may still be considered as a perfect gas. However, this does not provide
correct simulation above Mach number 6, since the occurrence of real gas effects is coupled
to the temperature. Real gas effects can be effectively simulated by generating air flow in the
tunnel with energy matching that in flight of the hypersonic vehicle, and can be achieved by
expanding the test gas from a reservoir at very high temperature and pressure through a
nozzle. This is achieved in a shock tunnel by using a shock wave to heat and compress the
test gas rapidly and expanding the shocked gas through a nozzle to the required Mach number
in the test section.
A shock tube is a high velocity wind tunnel in which the temperature jump across the normal
shock is used to simulate the high heating environment of spacecraft re-entry. Shock tunnels
are used to study aerodynamic flow under a wide range of temperatures and pressures, also
high values of velocities and enthalpies can be achieved that are difficult to obtain in other
types of testing facilities. Hence it is very critical to design the shock tunnel such that high
enthalpies are achieved, so that the hypersonic speeds are established in the test section of the
shock tunnel.

The facility consists of the following components as listed in Figure 1:
1. Driver section: A high-pressure section (driver), which will contain the high pressure
driver gas.
2. Discharge valve: To discharge the driver section after each run.
3. Pressure gauge: To read the pressure inside the driver section, this section is also
provided with a static pressure transducer to record the exact value of the driver pressure
P4 at which the diaphragm ruptures.
4. Vacuum pump: When the driver gas is not air (e.g. Helium or Hydrogen) then the driver
section should be evacuated and refilled with the required driver gas.
5. The primary diaphragm: This is a thin aluminum membrane to isolate the low-pressure
test gas from the high-pressure driver gas until the compression process is initiated.
6. Piston compression section: A piston is placed in the barrel (driven tube) adjacent to the
primary diaphragm so that when the diaphragm ruptures, the piston is propelled through
the driven tube, compressing the gas ahead of it. This piston is used with free-piston
tunnel tests only.
7. Discharge valve: To discharge the driven section after each run.
8. Vacuum gauge: To set the pressure inside the barrel section to a pressure less than
atmospheric pressure (vacuum pressure).
9. Barrel section: A shock tube section (smooth bore), to be filled with the required test gas
(air, nitrogen or carbon dioxide).
10. Barrel extension: The last half meter of the barrel on which the pressure transducers and
thermocouples are to be mounted.
11. The secondary diaphragm: A light plastic diaphragm to separate the low pressure test gas
inside the barrel from the test section and damp tank which are initially at vacuum prior to
the run.
12. Test section: This section will expand the high temperature test gas through a nozzle to
the correct high enthalpy conditions needed to simulate hypersonic flow. A range of
Mach numbers is available by changing the diameter of the throat insert.
13. Vacuum vessel (damp tank): To be evacuated to about 0.1 mm Hg pressure before
running. Prior to a run, the barrel, test section and damp tank are to be evacuated to a lowpressure value.

Figure (1): Schematic diagram of Shock Tunnel.

When the diaphragm is broken, a shock wave propagates into section 1 and an expansion
wave propagates into section 4. As the normal shock wave propagates to the right, it
increases the pressure of gas in region 2 and induces a mass motion with velocity up.
The interface between the driver and driven gases is called the contact surface, which also
moves with the same velocity up.
Across the contact surface, the entropy changes discontinuously though the velocity and the
pressure are preserved. The expansion wave propagates to the left, smoothly and
continuously decreasing the pressure in region 4 to the lower value P 3 between the expansion
wave tail and the contact discontinuity. The flow field in the tube after the diaphragm is
broken is completely determined by the conditions in regions 1 and 4 before the diaphragm is

DRIVER GAS: P4, T4, M4,4, a4

DRIVEN GAS: P1, T1, M1,1, a1



Figure (2): Conditions in the shock tube before Diaphragm rupture.



Normal Shock



Figure (3): Conditions in the shock tube after Diaphragm rupture.

Consider a tube in steady state condition with uniform properties. If a small perturbation of
magnitude dP is introduced in the tube, this disturbance propagates isentropically as a pulse
with the local speed of sound in the tube with negligible distortion. Since points on the wave
with the same amplitude move with the same velocity, their separation distance remains
constant with time.
As the magnitude of the perturbation is increased, the local speed of the wave (in the
laboratory reference frame) is considerably different at all points in lieu of finite density
differences across the pulse. The waveform shows distortion, in the form of steepening of the
compressive part and a spreading out of the expansive part. Beyond a particular time, a
portion of the leading edge of the wave front just becomes vertical, so that the velocity and
the sound-speed gradients become infinite. This time is identified as the instant of shock
formation. Here, the influence of viscosity and thermal conductivity becomes more
pronounced and the flow becomes non - homentropic.
A normal shock wave is a finite disturbance where the shock wave is normal to both the
upstream and downstream flow fields. Typically, a normal shock wave thickness is of the
order of a few molecular mean free paths (10-5 cm for air at standard condition). Hence, it is
usually assumed to be a discontinuity across which the flow properties suddenly change.
Flow across a shock wave is considered to be adiabatic and hence, the basic normal shock
equations are simply the compressible flow governing equations with the assumption that the
process is adiabatic


Solving these equations assuming ideal (P=RT) and calorically perfect (h=CpT) gas, we get
the following shock relations





( *( *

The shock formation process involves steep velocity gradients and hence, viscous and
conduction effects become important. Since these phenomena are dissipative and irreversible,
entropy is generated which gets manifested in the loss of stagnation pressure across the

After solving for the shock tube using the basic shock and expansion relations with the
constraint that u2=u3 and P2=P3, we get the following relations
( *(



Substituting for the shock relations, we obtain



Imposing the zero velocity wall boundary condition, we obtain the strength Mr of the
reflected shock wave in terms of the incident shock strength M1 as





Normal Shock



Incident Shock


Figure (4): Reflection of incident shock from the end-wall

By considering the shock wave equation, the Mach number of the incident shock wave, MS
can be written as a function of P1 and P2 which are pressures ahead and behind shockwave
and the specific heat ratio, as follows:
a) Known initial conditions: P4, T4, 4, P1, T1, 1.
b) Diaphragm pressure ratio P4/P1 can be determined from above equation to generate
given Mach number.
c) Pressure, temperature and velocity ratios across shock wave can be obtained by the
relations P2/P1 ,T2/T1,Up respectively.
d) We can write: P3/P4= (P3/P1)*(P1/P4) = (P2/P1)*(P1/P4), Defines the strength of
incident expansion shock.
e) All the thermodynamic properties immediately behind the shock expansion wave
can be found from the isentropic relations:
f) P3/P4= (3/4) = (T3/T4)


g) Relation between shock strength and diaphragm pressure ratio is given by the flow
speed across the contact surface as:





Figure (5): Variation of incident and reflected shock Mach numbers, for a shock tube with air
as driver and driven gas and T4/T1=1, over a small range of P4/P1.
Figure (6): Shock strength as function of initial pressure ratio, using air in both sections.
KNOWN DATA: Driver gas: Air; 4 = 1.4 ; Driven gas: Air ; 1 = 1.4
Driver pressure P4 = 500 K Pa; Driven pressure P1 = 20 K Pa ; T1 = T4 = 30 C.


Speed of sound of the low pressure , driven air:
A1= (RT)0.5= (1.4*287*303)0.5= 348.9203 m/s
For p4/p1=500/20=25, using above equation we can find p2/p1= 4.0471. the shock speed
can be determined from the above equation as:
Shock speed

= 663.1138 m/s

Shock Mach number Ms= Up/a1= 1.9005.

The speed of gas behind the shock is computed from

= 399.6019 m/s

The Contact surface moves at the same velocity as that of the air behind the normal
The static temperature behind the shock is determined from

= 1.6083.
Since Mach behind the shock is M1= Ms= 1.9005, the ratio of static temperatures across
the shock can be determined from as
T2= 1.6083*303 = 487.3149 K.
For expansion flow, the region between zones 3 & 4 is given by:
P3/P4= (3/4) = (T3/T4)


Hence, T3/T2 = 0.5944

Hence, T3= 0.5944*303 = 180.1032 K.

The wave at the front of the system of expansion waves moves at the velocity of sound
with respect to the air ahead of it.
Since V4= 0 &a4 = a1 (T4=T1 and 4=1), velocity of front wave is equal to a4= 348.9203
At tail of the expansion wave: a3= (3 R3T3) =269.0083 m/s.
The absolute velocity of the last wave is a3- v3 =269.0083- 399.6019 = -130.5936 m/s.

Therefore, using normal shock equations the other unknown terms can also be calculated.

Experimental measurements were performed with the facility working as shock tube with the
end of the driven section closed and free-piston tunnel, in which a light plastic piston is
placed in the barrel adjacent to the primary diaphragm so that when the diaphragm ruptures,
the piston is propelled through the driven tube, compressing the gas
ahead of it.
The pressure transducer and the thermocouple were installed at the
wall of the tube at about 75mm from the closed end as shown.
The boundary conditions of the run were as:
Driver gas: Air; 4 = 1.4
Driven gas: Air; 1 = 1.4
Driver pressure P4 =12 bar
Driven pressure P1 = 1 bar;
T1 = T4 = 300 K.

Figure (7): Pressure transducer location.

The obtained results by the data acquisition systems are as follows:

Figure (8):Pressure inside the shock tube

Figure(9):Temperature inside the shock tube.


For tubes operating at low or medium pressures, of the order of a few atmospheres, copper is
perhaps the preferred tube material. It is easy to machine, and external fittings in the form of
brass may be soft-soldered or braised to the copper tube. This metal is also desirable if
spectroscopic measurements of the wall materials usually excited in the shock, and the simple
copper spectrum is less troublesome than the complex one of iron in this respect.
For work at high pressures, a stainless-steel tube with welded fittings is generally used. For
extreme pressures, tubes made from surplus naval gun barrels are very popular.
In this present analysis, the stainless-steel material tube is considered and modal analysis to
study the material deformation of the shock tube with respect to variation in frequency is

Figure(10): Shock tube Analysis at Natural frequency(f =10)

A rectangular profile that has the breadth as the diameter of the cylindrical section
(D1=360mm and D2=107mm) ,length equal to cylindrical length (L1=1.68m and
L2=10.18m) is drawn in the x-y plane of mechanical sketcher of the Catia.
Then the part design is selected and the created profile is revolved about the central axis
of the designed rectangular profile.
Export the given object to the Ansys software.


1) Preferences>structural
2) Preprocessor>Element type > solid>brick 8 node 45
3) Preprocessor>materialprops>material models
E= 200Gpa (stainless steel)
Poisons ratio=0.3
4) Meshing> mesh tool> volumesselect tetrahedral elements >pick all>mesh
5) Solution>Analysis type> static>ok
6) Define loads > apply>structural>displacement.Constraint one side>all dof>ok
7) Define loads>apply>structural>pressure>on areas>select inner areas> give value>ok
8) Solve>currentls>ok
9) General postproc> plot results>Deformed shape>ok
10) Generalpostproc>plotresults>stress>voinmoises>ok

Figure(11): Shock tube Analysis at Natural frequency(f =11)

From the above figure, it can be noted that with increase in natural frequency, the material
deformation of the shock tube gradually increases.



1. Schlieren Technique:
Schlieren flow visualization is based on the deflection of light by a refractive
index gradient.
The index gradient is directly related to flow density gradient. The deflected light is
compared to un deflected light at a viewing screen.

Figure(12): Schlieren System.

Schlieren Z-Type Flow Visualization System:
Using schlieren systems subtle changes in transparent media can be visualized.
Specifically schlieren systems are sensitive to variations in the medias refractive index,
which can provide insight into temperature and density gradients.
As light passes through regions with varying Refractive index the light gets bent, and
deviates from its normal path. This bending is called a schliere, from the German for
smear. Schliere cause an effect similar to shadows on the bottom of a pool, or the
shimmering mirage of heat in the desert.
Using a knife-edge or filter in a schlieren system subtle temperature or density changes in
a media located in the test section can be made clearly visible.

Figure (13):Schlieren Z-Type Flow Visualization setup.


Setting Up a Schlieren System:

Step 1: Calculate the required distances between he object, schlieren lens, focusing lens,
and camera based on the equations on the previous slide and the focal lengths of your
Step 2: Set up the light source, any flat mirrors, and test section with windows in place if
Step 3: Set up a laser in the place where the camera will go
Step 4: Turn on the laser and ensure that the beam is straight in both the vertical and
horizontal directions along the optical axis (line to next mirror)
Step 5: Adjust any mirrors on this side of the set-up to direct the laser to the test section,
ensuring that the beam stays the same height the whole way (use a ruler or a height gauge
to test this at every mirror).
Step 6: If there are windows on the test section, check for reflections to ensure the laser
is perpendicular to the windows
Step 7: Adjust any mirrors on the light-source side to direct the laser beam to the light
source, ensuring the beam stays the same height and is centered on the mirrors
Step 8: Adjust the height of the light source so that it is at the same height as the laser
Step 9: Remove the cover of the light source (make sure it is unplugged and cold!) so
you can see the filament or arc bulb.
Step 10: Use the controls on the light source to move the filament or bulb until the laser
light hits the center of the filament or bulb. Check for reflections.
Step 11: Once alignment of the laser, mirrors, and light source is complete, be sure to
secure all the optics in place.
Step 12: One-by-one, add the lenses to the setup.
Step 13: Once the alignment is complete, secure well all of the optical components.
Step 14: Replace the laser with the camera, place the knife-edge at the approximate
location of the focus of the schlieren lens, and turn on the light source.
Step 15: Starting at the light source, very carefully make slight changes to the focusing
lens (if one is not included on the light source) to focus the light source down onto the
pin-hole or slit.
Step 16: Using a precision translation stage, adjust the distance between the pin-hole or
slit and the collimating lens until the beam is collimated. Use an aperture if desired to
define the size of the beam.
Step 17: After the beam has been collimated, if it is not in the location where you want it
in the test area, make adjustments to move the beam
Step 18: Follow the same procedure to position the image correctly on the camera,
heeding the above steps.
Step 19: Find the approximate location of the focus of the schlieren lens, and place the
knife-edge there on translation stages.
Step 20: Step the knife-edge in/up to block part of the light if you are at the focus, the
background will become dimmer uniformly. Adjust the location of the knife-edge using
the translation stages until you find the focus.


Shadowgraph is a type of flow visualization which only needs a light source, a schlieren
object, and screen on which the shadow is cast.
In principle, we cannot directly see a difference in temperature, a different gas, or a shock
wave in the transparent air. However, all these disturbances refract light rays, so they can
cast shadows. The figure below illustrates this technique.

Figure (14): Shadowgraphy Technique setup.



Displays a focused image.

Displays a mere shadow.

Shows ray refraction angle,

Shows light ray displacement.

Knife edge used for cutoff.

No knife edge used.

More sensitive in general.

Less sensitive.

More difficult to set up

use lamps, mirrors, lenses.

Extremely easy to setup, occurs







Specific enthalpy

Induced mass motion / Piston speed

Ratio of specific heats

Speed of sound



1. Philip A. Thompson; Compressible Fluid Dynamics.

2. J.D. Anderson; Modern Compressible Flow, Second Edition.
3. Hans G. Hornung; Experimental Real-Gas Hypersonics; 28th Lanchester Memorial
Lecture, Dec 1988.
4. Hans G. Hornung; The Piston Motion in a Free-Piston Driver for Shock Tubes and
Tunnels; Graduate Aeronautics Laboratory California Institute of Technology
(GALCIT), 1988.
5. S. Gai; Free Piston Shock Tunnels: Developments and Capabilities; Progress in
Aerospace Science 1992.
6. A.G. Gaydon, I.R. Hurle;The shock tube in high-temperature chemical physics;
Cahpman and Hall Ltd., London 1963.
7. Michael Smart, Ray Stalker and Richard Morgan (The University of Queensland) and
Allan Paull (Defence Science and Technology Centre, Australia); Hypersonic
Research in Australia.