Spontaneous acoustic emission from strong ionizing shocks

M. Mond, I. M. Rutkevich

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23 Scopus citations


Dyakov (1954) and Kontorovich (1957) formulated the conditions for corrugation instability of shock waves as well as for spontaneous emission of sound and entropy-vortex waves from them. For the first time since then, it is shown here that physical circumstances do exist under which shocks in gases spontaneously emit sound waves. Such circumstances are provided by strong ionizing shocks. In order to see that, the coefficient of reflection of an acoustic wave from a shock is derived as a function of the wave's frequency and the ionization degree. Spontaneous emission of sound occurs when the reflection coefficient becomes infinitely large. It is shown that the relevant frequency range for the occurrence of spontaneous emission is that for which the electrons are not in local thermodynamic equilibrium with the heavy particles. The special properties of acoustic perturbations behind the ionizing shock are considered for this frequency range and the sound velocity in a partially ionized gas is derived. In addition, the condition for spontaneous emission of sound is modified in order to take into account the difference between the electrons and heavy-particle perturbed temperatures. It is shown, by numerical calculations, that the criterion for spontaneous emission is satisfied behind ionizing shocks in argon. In particular, for an initial pressure of 5 Torr, the threshold for the occurrence of the spontaneous emission is found to be M1 = 15. This critical value of the shock Mach number, as well as other calculated physical features, agree very well with those obtained experimentally by Glass & Liu (1978) who observed the occurrence of instability behind shocks in argon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-146
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 25 Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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