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Development and application of streakline visualization in hypervelocity flows


A method for visualizing streaklines in hypervelocity flows has been developed. The method uses the high temperatures produced in hypervelocity flows to ablate small amounts of sodium deposited onto a wire stretched across the flow and to broaden the lines in the sodium spectrum. By using a dye laser, tuned to a wavelength close to one of the sodium D-lines, as the light source in shadowgraph or Schlieren visualization, streaklines seeded with sodium become visible through absorption and/or enhanced refractivity. The technique has been used to investigate the stability of the shear layer produced by the curved bow shock on a cylindrically blunted wedge. The results suggest that the shear layer is unstable, exhibiting structures with a wavelength that is comparable to half the nose radius of the body.

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Lemieux, .P., Hornung, .H. Development and application of streakline visualization in hypervelocity flows. Exp Fluids 33, 188–195 (2002).

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  • Sodium
  • Refractivity
  • Light Source
  • Shear Layer
  • Nose Radius