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Condensation of air components in hypersonic wind tunnels : theoretical calculations and comparison with experiment

Buhler, Rolf D. (1952) Condensation of air components in hypersonic wind tunnels : theoretical calculations and comparison with experiment. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


The effect of condensation on the flow in hypersonic wind tunnels is bracketed by equilibrium saturated expansion and by instantaneous condensation. By calculation of shock waves with evaporation, direct comparison of theoretical and measured pressures is made possible. Satisfactory agreement between saturated expansion theory and experiment is obtained after the collapse of the supersaturated state.

The droplet growth theory (for free molecule regime) is reexamined, and a good approximate solution is obtained for the nonsteady case (i.e., rapidly changing vapor properties). Limits of validity of the quasi-steady theory are defined, and an upper limiting (zero growth) drop size given for expanding flow.

A simplified method is presented for calculating the pressure time history of the collapse of the supersaturated state in nozzles. From this, most effective nucleus sizes for given total mass of impurities are calculated. Thus the earliest possible collapse in a nozzle due to impurities is estimated theoretically for low impurity concentrations. The agreement of the predicted trend with experimental results in nitrogen appears to justify the assumed mechanism of the collapse, which is condensation on existing foreign nuclei formed upstream of the collapse.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Committee:
  • Nagamatsu, Henry T. (chair)
  • Gilmore, Forrest Richard
  • Plesset, Milton S.
Defense Date:1 January 1952
Record Number:etd-01162007-152444
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:197
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:16 Jan 2007
Last Modified:25 Dec 2012 14:58

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