1987-02-01

Formation of a Plasma Puff 870609

Formation of pulsed plasma jets, or puffs, was examined using several visualization techniques. Self-light streak photography was first employed to record salient global features of the development and structure of the jet. This provided information on the motion of the luminous gas particles in its core, revealing that plasma jets can have two distinct modes, being either totally subsonic or embodying a supersonic efflux manifested by the recorded streaks of Mach discs. At a fixed power pulse of electrical energy discharge in the plenum chamber, the outcome depends on the constriction imposed by an orifice at its outlet. Whereas the difference between the two types of jets was quite small, penetration in the subsonic case was found to be definitely larger than in supersonic. The turbulent evolution of the puffs was thereupon explored by ultra-high frequency (200 kHz) schlieren cinematography, using a unique system employing a pulsating ruby laser as the light source and a rotating mirror camera as the recorder.

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