Extreme speeds and thermodynamic states in supersonic flight


Typical of all cases of high-speed flow is the conversion of high kinetic energy into extreme thermodynamic states with temperatures of several thousand degrees; frequently, the gas is dissociated and ionized. A small sensitivity to high speeds is characteristic of gases of low molecular weight. With a minimum of mathematical and physical complexity, these matters are discussed in relation to meteors, shock tubes, ram jets, and rockets. The discussion is directed primarily to experts in neighboring fields and interested novices.

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