The compressibility bubble

Stack, John
October 1935

Simultaneous air-flow photographs and pressure-distribution measurements have been made of the NACA 4412 airfoil at high speeds in order to determine the physical nature of the compressibility bubble. The flow photographs were obtained by the Schlieren method and the pressures were simultaneously measured for 54 stations on the 5-inch-chord wing by means of a multiple-tube photographic manometer. Pressure-measurement results and typical Schlieren photographs are presented. The general nature of the phenomenon called the "compressibility bubble" is shown by these experiments. The source of the increased drag is the compression shock that occurs, the excess drag being due to the conversion of a considerable amount of the air-stream kinetic energy into heat at the compression shock.

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