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Concept# Supersonic speed

Summary

Supersonic speed is the speed of an object that exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1). For objects traveling in dry air of a temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) at sea level, this speed is approximately . Speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5) are often referred to as hypersonic. Flights during which only some parts of the air surrounding an object, such as the ends of rotor blades, reach supersonic speeds are called transonic. This occurs typically somewhere between Mach 0.8 and Mach 1.2.
Sounds are traveling vibrations in the form of pressure waves in an elastic medium. Objects move at supersonic speed when the objects move faster than the speed at which sound propagates through the medium. In gases, sound travels longitudinally at different speeds, mostly depending on the molecular mass and temperature of the gas, and pressure has little effect. Since air temperature and composition varies significantly with altitude, the speed of sound,

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Folding of the earth's crust, wrinkling of the skin, rippling of fruits, vegetables and leaves are all examples of natural structures that can have periodic buckling. Periodic buckling is also present in engineering structures such as compressed lattices, cylinders, thin films, stretchable electronics, tissues, etc., and the question is to understand how wave propagation is affected by such media. These structures possess geometrical nonlinearities and intrinsic dispersive sources, two conditions which are necessary to the formation of stable, nonlinear waves called solitary waves. These waves are particular since dispersive effects are balanced by nonlinear ones, such that the wave characteristics remain constant during the propagation, without any decay or modification in the shape. It is the goal of this thesis to demonstrate that solitary waves can propagate in periodic buckled structures. This manuscript focuses specifically on periodically buckled beams that require either guided or pinned supports for stability purposes. Buckling is initially considered statically and investigations are made on stability, role played by imperfections, shape of the deflection, etc. Linear dispersion is analyzed employing the semi-analytical dispersion equation, a new method that relates the frequency explicitly to the propagation constant of the acoustic branch. This allows the quantification of the different dispersive sources and it is found that in addition to periodicity, transverse inertial and coupling effects are playing a dominant role. Modeling the system by a mass-spring chain that accounts for additional dispersive sources, homogenization and asymptotic procedures lead to the double-dispersion Boussinesq equation. Varying the pre-compression level and the support type, the main result of this thesis is to show that four different waves are possible, namely compressive supersonic, rarefaction (tension) supersonic, compressive subsonic and rarefaction subsonic solitary waves. For high-amplitude waves, models based on strongly-nonlinear PDEs as the one modeling wave propagation in granular media (Hertz power law) are more appropriate and adaptation of existing work is done. Analytical model results are then compared to finite-element simulations of the structure and experiments, and are found in excellent agreement. In this thesis, in addition to the semi-analytical dispersion equation, two other new methods are proposed. For periodic structures by translation with additional glide symmetries (e.g. buckled beams), Bloch theorem is revisited and allows the use of a smaller unit cell. Advantages are dispersion curves easier to interpret and computational cost reduced. Finally, the last contribution of this thesis is the use of NURBS-based isogeometric analysis (IGA) to solve the extensible-elastica problem requiring at least C1-continuous basis functions, which was not possible before with classical finite-element methods. The formulation is found efficient to solve dynamic problems involving slender beams as buckling.

Benjamin Bertsche, Justinas Jankunas, Andreas Osterwalder

We have developed an experiment for the investigation of neutral molecular collisions in the gas phase at temperatures as low as 100 mK. These low temperatures are obtained by merging two supersonic expansions, using an electric and a magnetic guide, and by matching the velocities of the beams. Since the energy available for the collisions, or the temperature, is determined only by the relative velocity of the reaction partners this enables the study of chemical processes at very low temperatures without the need to prepare slow molecules in the laboratory frame of reference. This paper describes the method and presents results on the Ne(P-3(2))+NH3 Penning ionization.

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The field of cold molecules has become an important source of new insight in fundamental chemistry and molecular physics. High-resolution spectroscopy benefits from translationally and internally cold molecules by increased interaction times and reduced spectral congestion. Completely new effects in scattering dynamics become accessible with cold and controlled molecules. Many of these experiments use molecular beams as a starting point for the generation of molecular samples. This review gives an overview of methods to produce beams of cold molecules, starting from supersonic expansions or effusive sources, and provides examples of applications in spectroscopy and molecular dynamics studies.