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Homework Help: Bow Shock Waves

  1. May 29, 2005 #1
    Does anybody has information about bow shock waves?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2005 #2
    Well you obviously need to be moving at a speed greater than mach 1 to form a shock. A bow shock is a STONG shock that forms of the front of a moving body. Typically we only talk about bow shocks caused by moving bodies and no the airflow in a body such as a jet engine. In engines we typicially assume the angle of the shock to be normal to the airflow except at the exit when the gas adjusts back to the ambient pressure via expansion fans or compression waves. In many appendices in aerospace books there are two types of ways to analyze the airflow. One involves a weak shock and the other involves a strong shock. A more appropriate term for a bow shock is the stronger version of an oblique shock. There is chart to predict the mach number behind a shockwave, however it is a function of two variables...the angle the body makes with the free stream and the wave angle. Looking at this chart or many computer program will allow someone to find the mach number behind the shock. I suggest looking up "oblique shock table" on google. If you find the correct figure it should look like a horizontal parabole opening to the left. At the vertex of this parabola is where the shock separates from the leading surface of the traveling body and thus a bow shock is produced.
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