Abstract

Two new near-resonantly enhanced flow visualization techniques suitable for hypersonic low-density flows in shock or arc tunnels have been developed using seeded lithium (Li) metal as the refractivity-enhancing species. Two semiconductor lasers, single-longitudinal-mode and multimode, are compared with respect to their suitability as light sources for the technique. Transient wake-flow structures around a cylinder and a model of a planetary entry vehicle are visualized to demonstrate the capabilities of this comparatively inexpensive and simple visualization system. The images show flow features which are undetectable with conventional schlieren, shadowgraph, or interferometry techniques. Furthermore, the effect of density inhomogeneities along the line-of-sight outside the region of interest can be reduced by enhancing the refractivity only in selected parts of the flowfield.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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