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On the Generation of Shock Waves in an Inverse Pinch


Sorrell, Furman Yates, Jr. (1966) On the Generation of Shock Waves in an Inverse Pinch. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ZCDM-SF32.


A problem inherent in magnetic shock tubes is the difficulty of achieving separation of the driving current sheet and the shock wave. If such devices are to be applied to produce shock waves for experimentation, then separation will usually be a necessary requirement. In the present experiments in an inverse pinch shock tube, preliminary measurements showed that not only was separation not achieved, but under certain conditions the shock was actually found to be located far behind the front of the current sheet. This appeared to be a paradoxical case of the shock wave pushing the piston. Moreover, measurements of the current sheet velocity indicated that the interaction of the current sheet with the gas should be strong enough to sweep up all the gas encountered by the current sheet and thus to produce a shock wave moving ahead of it. In order to find explanations for the absence of separation and for some other puzzling aspects of these early experiments, further measurements were made to study in more detail the processes taking place in the device. These included measurements of the radial electric field with electrostatic probes and of the ionization levels by the technique of spectral line broadening. The results of these measurements show that the degree of ionization is surprisingly low and that the amount of gas leaking through the current sheet is significantly high in some cases. The conclusion is then reached that although the so-called "snowplow model" is successful in predicting the current sheet velocity, it does not lead to the correct picture of the physical processes taking place. Finally, conditions for which separation may be achievable are inferred from the experiments.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Aeronautics)
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:26 May 1966
Additional Information:Title varies in the 1966 Caltech commencement program: On the Generation of Shock Waves in an Inverse Pinch Shock Tube
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03312009-155713
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1236
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:01 Apr 2009
Last Modified:08 Mar 2024 00:32

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PDF (Sorrell_fy_1966.pdf) - Final Version
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