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Effects of Impurities on the Supersaturation of Nitrogen in a Hypersonic Wind Tunnel


Arthur, Paul David (1952) Effects of Impurities on the Supersaturation of Nitrogen in a Hypersonic Wind Tunnel. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/PBSD-2V70.


An experimental investigation was conducted to determine the effects of additives on the supersaturation of commercial bottled nitrogen expanded in a hypersonic nozzle. In particular, enough oxygen was added to duplicate air proportions. A stainless steel two-dimensional source-flow nozzle of one-inch width was used to conduct the tests. Commercially pure nitrogen, expanded from room temperature and 8-1/3 atm. pressure, was found to supersaturate by approximately 18° K or 1.2 Mach number. The supersaturation of the nitrogen was decreased by the addition of impurities, and only a fraction of a percent of carbon dioxide or water vapor was required to eliminate completely all supersaturation. Addition of argon and oxygen was found to be much less effective in decreasing the supersaturation. For the synthetic air, the supersaturation was 16° K or 0.9 Mach number based on air vapor pressure values. During the collapse of the supersaturated state, the static pressure gradually increased above the isentropic value because of the heat release of the condensing gas. As has been shown before, there was no evidence of condensation shock with nitrogen. The impact pressure was only slightly changed from the isentropic value by the presence of condensation in the flow. After the collapse of the supersaturated state, the flow approximated that of a condensation shock. From these tests it is concluded that condensation of nitrogen, containing slightly more impurities than present in the commercial nitrogen, and of air of the same purity principally caused by foreign impurities, not by spontaneous self-nucleation.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Aeronautics and Mathematics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Minor Option:Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Nagamatsu, Henry T.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1952
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03232009-152948
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1081
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:24 Mar 2009
Last Modified:10 May 2023 22:30

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