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Published November 2011 | public
Journal Article

Wave propagation in gaseous small-scale channel flows


The propagation and attenuation of an initial shock wave through a mm-scale channel of circular cross-section over lengths up to 2,000 diameters is examined as a model problem for the scaling of viscous effects in compressible flows. Experimental wave velocity measurements and pressure profiles are compared with existing data and theoretical predictions for shock attenuation at large scales and low pressures. Significantly more attenuation is observed than predicted based on streamtube divergence. Simulations of the experiment show that viscous effects need to be included, and the boundary layer behavior is important. A numerical model including boundary layer and channel entrance effects reproduces the wave front velocity measurements, provided a boundary layer transition model is included. A significant late-time pressure rise is observed in experiments and in the simulations.

Additional Information

© 2011 Springer-Verlag. Received: 1 September 2010; Revised: 4 March 2011; Accepted: 18 April 2011; Published online: 5 June 2011. At Illinois, we thank Matthew Parker for help with the experimental setup, Craig Merrett for running preliminary simulations, and William Flaherty for help assembling the data. We also thank Professor Joe Shepherd at Caltech for the loan of the transducer mounts used in the experiments.

Additional details

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