Shock Waves

, Volume 17, Issue 1–2, pp 65–70 | Cite as

Background oriented schlieren for flow visualisation in hypersonic impulse facilities

  • D. Ramanah
  • S. Raghunath
  • D. J. MeeEmail author
  • T. Rösgen
  • P. A. Jacobs
Original Article


Experiments to demonstrate the use of the background-oriented schlieren (BOS) technique in hypersonic impulse facilities are reported. BOS uses a simple optical set-up consisting of a structured background pattern, an electronic camera with a high shutter speed and a high intensity light source. The visualization technique is demonstrated in a small reflected shock tunnel with a Mach 4 conical nozzle, nozzle supply pressure of 2.2 MPa and nozzle supply enthalpy of 1.8 MJ/kg. A 20° sharp circular cone and a model of the MUSES-C re-entry body were tested. Images captured were processed using PIV-style image analysis to visualize variations in the density field. The shock angle on the cone measured from the BOS images agreed with theoretical calculations to within 0.5°. Shock standoff distances could be measured from the BOS image for the re-entry body. Preliminary experiments are also reported in higher enthalpy facilities where flow luminosity can interfere with imaging of the background pattern.


Background schlieren Shock tunnel Flow visualization 


47.80.Jk 47.40.Ki 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ramanah
    • 1
  • S. Raghunath
    • 1
  • D. J. Mee
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Rösgen
    • 2
  • P. A. Jacobs
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Hypersonics, School of EngineeringThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Institute of Fluid DynamicsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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