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Shock Waves

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 3–15 | Cite as

The discovery of the Mach reflection effect and its demonstration in an auditorium

  • P. Krehl
  • M. van der Geest
Article

Abstract

This paper examines the historical background leading to the discovery of the Mach reflection effect and applies original documents from Mach's residue which are kept in the archives of the Ernst-Mach-Institut in Freiburg. Two experimental setups for the generation and demonstration of the Mach reflection effect, incorporating an overhead projector, are described: (a) Mach's historic mechanical shock wave reflection and interaction experiments with soot covered glass plates, performed in 1875. The Mach triple points sharply erase the soot which results in a residual picture of funnel-shaped V-formations. The head-on collision of two shock waves is marked as a narrow line of piled-up soot. (b) CalTech's hydraulic jump reflection experiments in a shallow ripple tank, performed during World War II. Regular reflection and its transition into a Mach reflection wave. Using a slightly inclined tank and providing a “shoreline” in the middle of the tank, Mach stem propagation slows down to zero when hitting the shore line and, therefore, can be observed “live” without the use of a slow motion technique.

Key words

Ernst Mach History of shock wave research Mach reflection Hydraulic analogy 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Krehl
    • 1
  • M. van der Geest
  1. 1.Ernst-Mach-InstitutFreiburgFederal Republic of Germany

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