Experimental investigation of transonic and supersonic flow over a sphere for Reynolds numbers of 103–105 by free-flight tests with schlieren visualization

T. Nagata, A. Noguchi, T. Nonomura, K. Ohtani, K. Asai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, free-flight tests of a sphere for Reynolds numbers between 3.9 × 103 and 3.8 × 105 and free-flight Mach numbers between 0.9 and 1.6 were conducted using a ballistic range, and compressible low-Reynolds-number flows over an isolated sphere were investigated with the schlieren technique. The flow visualization was carried out under low-pressure conditions with a small sphere (minimum diameter of 1.5 mm) to produce compressible low-Reynolds-number flow. Also, time-averaged images of the flow near the sphere were obtained and compared to previous numerical results for Reynolds numbers between 50 and 1000. The experimental results clarified the structure of shock waves, recirculation region, and wake structures at the Reynolds number of 103–105 under transonic and supersonic flows. As a result, the following characteristics were clarified: (1) the amplitude of the wake oscillation was attenuated as the free-flight Mach number increased; (2) use of singular value decomposition permitted extraction of the mode of the wake structure even when schlieren images were unclear due to severe condition, and different modes in the wake structure were identified; (3) the Reynolds number had little effect on the separation point, but the length of the recirculation region increased as the Reynolds number decreased; and (4) the wake diameter at the end of the recirculation region decreased as the Mach number increased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalShock Waves
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1


  • Ballistic range
  • Compressible low-Reynolds-number flow
  • Schlieren visualization
  • Sphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental investigation of transonic and supersonic flow over a sphere for Reynolds numbers of 10<sup>3</sup>–10<sup>5</sup> by free-flight tests with schlieren visualization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this