, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 401-409

An experimental study of supersonic microjets

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Miniature axisymmetric supersonic nozzles were produced with exit Mach numbers ranging from 1.0 to 2.8 by forming Pyrex® capillary tubing of 0.6 and 1.2 mm inside diameter into converging-diverging channels. The nozzle contours were measured and were found to compare favorably to ideal solutions given by the axisymmetric method of characteristics. In addition, the surfaces of these nozzles were quite smooth, providing featureless flows at perfect expansion. Schlieren visualization and pitot pressure measurements of the resulting microjets were compared to the literature available for jets produced by larger-scale nozzles. A postponed transition to turbulence is noted in these microjets due to their low Reynolds number. The pitot pressure on centerline is nearly uniform at perfect expansion over core lengths up to 12 nozzle exit diameters. Supersonic microjet nozzles thus provide a more effective small-scale high-pressure gas delivery device than do sonic nozzles of comparable scale at equivalent mass flow rates. Supersonic microjets may therefore have several industrial applications.

This research was sponsored by National Science Foundation Grant DMI 9400119, as part of a study of the assist-gas dynamics of laser cutting.