# MACH NUMBER

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divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance. or any other fluid substance. where  M is the Mach number  V is the relative velocity of the source to the medium and  a is the speed of sound in the medium .Definition  Mach number (Ma or M) is the speed of an object moving through air.

 Mach was actually the first person in history to develop a method for visualizing the flow passing over an object at supersonic speeds.HISTORY BEHIND THE TERM MACH  The term is named in honor of Ernst Mach. .  He was also the first to understand the fundamental principles that govern supersonic flow and their impact on aerodynamics. a Austrian scientist .

Ernst Mach .

 Also visible in the photo are two vertical lines made by the trip wires that triggered the camera as the projectile passed by. illustrates the strong shock wave formed by the nose of the bullet. the weaker shock wave created at the at end of the bullet. . Mach published the very first photograph of the shock waves formed by a bullet traveling faster than the speed of sound.  The photo shown .

Ernst Mach's photo of a bullet in supersonic flight .

or refracted. the light waves are bent.  Since shock waves create changes in the temperature and density of the airflow.How a shadowgraph works  Light is passed through an airflow and reflected onto a screen or film plate. . as they pass through the shock waves.  These refracted light patterns create shadows that can be seen on the screen.

Basic Definitions  Speed of sound: It defines the velocity at which sound waves travel through a substance. such as air.  subsonic: A vehicle that is traveling slower than the speed of sound (M<1) is said to be flying at subsonic speeds.  supersonic: A vehicle that is traveling faster than the speed of sound (M>1) is said to be flying at supersonic speeds. .

changes throughout the atmosphere based on the temperature at any given altitude.116.225.1 km/h  661.5 knots .Speed of Sound  The speed of sound.2 mph  1.  1.4 ft/s  340.3 m/s  761. also known as Mach 1.

 a is the speed of sound .356 mph (2.180 km/h) .  At an altitude of 30.447 km/h).150 m) it is only 1. Mach 2 then follows as 1.2 mph (1.522 mph (2.because the speed of sound generally decreases as altitude increases.223 km/h) at sea level.Speed of sound varies?  the speed of sound through the standard atmosphere is 761.000 Ft (9.

.Significance of Mach Number  Vehicle traveling at a given Mach number will experience similar aerodynamic properties. similarity parameters make it possible to measure the aerodynamic properties of a subscale model in a wind tunnel rather than having to test a full scale vehicle in free flight.  In addition. regardless of its altitude or dimensional airspeed.

but closer to a slightly concave plane.  The higher the speed.Shock wave  When an aircraft exceeds Mach 1 a large pressure difference is created just in front of the aircraft. the more narrow the cone. spreads backward and outward from the aircraft in a cone shape (a so-called Mach cone). . This abrupt pressure difference. called a shock wave. at just over M=1 it is hardly a cone at all.

 A convergent-divergent nozzle called de Laval nozzles is used.High-speed flow in a channel  The conservation of mass flow rate leads one to expect that contracting the flow channel would increase the flow speed and at subsonic speeds this holds true. . once the flow becomes supersonic. In extreme cases these are able to reach incredible.  However. hypersonic speeds (Mach 13 at 20°C). the relationship of flow area and speed is reversed: expanding the channel actually increases the speed.

 .Calculating Mach number  An aircraft Machmeter or electronic flight information system (EFIS) can display Mach number derived from stagnation pressure (pitot tube) and static pressure.

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