Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Francis Haas, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Wei Xue, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Ratan Jha, Ph.D.


Compressible Flow, Educational, PVC, Shock Tube


Shock waves; Shock (Mechanics)


Mechanical Engineering


Herein is described the design and function of a low-cost, easy-to-assemble, -operate, and -disassemble shock tube platform experiment that can generate shock waves approaching Mach 2 at maximum pressures of ~100 psig with a helium driver gas. The experiment uses several inexpensive (<$5), unamplified piezoelectric sensors attached to a multichannel oscilloscope to monitor the passage of key features of the flow (i.e., incident shock and reflected shock) through the tube, constructed from inexpensive and easy to work with schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings. From the fixed sensor displacements along the tube and relative differences in respective transit times, the velocities of these flow features can be determined. This permits (1) comparison of experimental results to the theoretical predictions of 1-D transient gas dynamics and (2) a leaping off point for discussion and quantification of non-idealities in the flow, including the shock wave development length, shock attenuation and boundary layer growth, and interactions of the reflected shock and contact surface. Experimental accessories (future work) for study of shock focusing and steady 2-D high speed flows are also briefly discussed. Assuming both pressurized, conditioned air at ~80-100 psig and a modern multi-channel oscilloscope are available at most institutions, the total cost to construct this experiment is around $500.