A membraneless experiment for the study of Richtmyer-Meshkov instability of a shock-accelerated gas interface

M. A. Jones, Jeffrey W Jacobs

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Previous Richtmyer-Meshkov instability experiments carried out in shock tubes have been hampered by the need to separate the two gases with a thin plastic membrane. As a result, many of these experiments have had poor agreement with the linear stability theory of Richtmyer [Commun. Pure Appl. Math. 23, 297 (1960)]. This limitation has been removed in the present investigation by the use of a novel technique in which the interface is formed by flowing light (N2) and heavy (SF6) gases from opposite ends of a vertical shock tube. Both gases exit the shock tube through slots in the test section walls leaving behind a flat motionless interface which is then given a sinusoidal initial shape by gently oscillating the shock tube at a prescribed frequency in the horizontal direction. A weak shock wave (Ms = 1.10), generated in the shock tube, impacts the interface and produces the instability. Photographs of the interface, which is visualized by seeding the heavy gas with a water droplet fog and illuminating it with a strobe light source, provide particularly clear views of the developing instability far into the nonlinear regime. In addition, amplitude measurements obtained from these photographs are found to be in good agreement with Richtmyer's theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3078-3085
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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