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1. The use of a large conventional shock tube as a pre-ionizer for an inverse pinch shock tube. 2. The application of thin-film heat transfer gauges and flush electrostatic probes to partially ionized flows in shock tubes


Klein, Alan F. (1967) 1. The use of a large conventional shock tube as a pre-ionizer for an inverse pinch shock tube. 2. The application of thin-film heat transfer gauges and flush electrostatic probes to partially ionized flows in shock tubes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


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Part 1.

A large diameter (17"), conventional shock tube has been used as the pre-ionizer for an inverse pinch shock tube in an attempt to achieve separation of the shock front and the current sheath in the inverse pinch. The inverse pinch was mounted in the endwall of the shock tube and was operated without an anode, either behind the incident or reflected shock wave generated by the pre-ionizer shock tube. The test gases used were Xenon, Argon, and Helium. Separation was not achieved, but in Argon the pressure front did move closer to the front of the current sheath. In Xenon, no improvement in the performance of the inverse pinch was observed as a result of the pre-ionization, and in one case it was noticeably degraded, with the piston appearing to leak excessively. Because of test time limitations it was only possible to operate the inverse pinch behind the incident shock wave in Xenon. By measuring the ionization relaxation time in Xenon it was found that for all the conditions of the present experiments, ionization equilibrium was not attained in the times available. Therefore, the inverse pinch was being operated in a slightly ionized, relaxing gas. The electrical conductivity of such a gas was calculated for Xenon and Argon and the results in Argon were found to be in good agreement with previous shock tube measurements of the conductivity. The relaxation time measurements, conducted primarily in the GALCIT 6" shock tube, show that [...], the product of the initial pressure and the relaxation time behind the incident shock, depends strongly upon the magnitude of [...], especially for [...] < .5 mm Hg of Xenon. The dependence decreases as the Mach number is increased in the range 10 < [...] < 20.6.

Part 2.

Previous shock tube observations of "spurious" signals in the output of thin-film heat gauges at Mach number for which the shocked gas becomes partially ionized are summarized. It is shown that these effects, and those observed the the present experiments in Xenon, cannot be explained in terms of a shorting gauge model. It is demonstrated that the effects are due to the gauge acting more as an electrostatic probe than as a heat gauge. Under these conditions it is shown that the heat gauge provides an accurate measurement of the ionization relaxation time as well as still being useful for determing the shock velocity. The thin-film is also operated as a flush electrostatic probe to measure the ion density in the shock tube wall boundary layer, and the experimental results are in good agreement with the theoretical predictions of two solutions of the bounday layer problem: one based on an approximate solution of the transformed boundary layer equations, and the other based on the solution of the equivalent Couette flow problems. The applicability of these solutions is found to be limited to conditions for which the ionization relaxation time is either very long or very short. Because of the computational simplifications involved it is seen that the Couette flow solution is preferred under most conditions.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Liepmann, Hans Wolfgang
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 August 1966
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-12292005-133945
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5165
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:29 Dec 2005
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:15

Thesis Files

PDF (Klein_af_1967.pdf) - Final Version
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