The flow field produced by a shock wave reflecting from a helium gas-liquid interface was investigated using a cryogenic shock tube. Incident and reflected shock waves were observed in the gas; transmitted first- and second-sound shocks were observed in the liquid. Wave diagrams are constructed to compare the data with theoretical wave trajectories. Qualitative agreement between data and theory is shown. Quantitative differences between data and theory indicate a need for further analysis of both the gas-liquid interface and the propagation of nonlinear waves in liquid helium.
This work was a first step in the experimental investigation of a complex non-equilibrium state. The results demonstrate clearly the usefulness of the cryogenic shock tube as a research tool. The well-controlled jump in temperature and pressure across the incident shock wave provides unique initial conditions for the study of dynamic phenomena in superfluid helium.
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