Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Jerry Bowman, PhD


An investigation of the AFIT high pressure shock tube was conducted to determine how closely it followed ideal shock tube theory and to determine the available test times for an attached Mach 3 nozzle. The driver section was five feet (1.52 m) long and the driven section was 25 feet (7.62 m) long. The driver gas used for this study was helium while the driven gas was atmospheric air. The pressure rise measured behind the incident shock wave was, on average, 30% lower than predicted by the ideal shock tube relations. Behind the reflected shock, the pressure rise was 65% lower than predictions based on initial driver gas pressure. Due to supply pressure limits and lower than predicted pressures behind the shock waves, fully expanded flow in the Mach 3 nozzle was not attained. However, steady overexpanded flows of Mach 2.74-2.96 were observed for periods of 4-12 milliseconds.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number