by snorkack
 P: 390 In low pressure gases, speed of sound is independent on pressure and depends only on temperature. Therefore increase of pressure will propagate as shockwave - front of the wave compresses and heats the gas, allowing the rear of the wave to travel faster and pile up into a shock. By the same cause, a decrease of pressure CANNOT propagate as shockwave in ideal gas - initial expansion cools the gas and slows down the rear of the wave, spreading out the unloading. How about fluids? The isothermal compressibility diverges to infinity at and below critical point. It does not and cannot get negative. Adiabatic compressibility therefore stays finite everywhere. How does the speed of sound around critical poind depend on pressure along adiabats? Is there any region where speed of sound increases on expansion, enabling decrease of pressure to propagate as shockwave?
 P: 1,024 It looks like there are circumstances under which it is possible to get a rarefaction shock, though the example I found involves dense gas dynamics rather than liquids (which is what I'm assuming you mean when you say "fluids"). Here's a paper on the topic: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...B65_aw&cad=rja
P: 390
 Quote by cjl It looks like there are circumstances under which it is possible to get a rarefaction shock, though the example I found involves dense gas dynamics rather than liquids (which is what I'm assuming you mean when you say "fluids").
Since liquid and gas can continuously transform passing around critical point, "fluid" is a term which covers both.

P: 1,024