Rarefaction Shock Waves
Complex thermodynamic models show that compressible flows of fluids having a sufficiently large heat capacity may exhibit rarefaction shock waves, also referred to as nonclassical phenomena. Apart from the numerous theoretical studies available in the scientific literature, no experimental evidence of RSWs in the dense vapor thermodynamic region is, however, currently available. In order to prove their existence, a new facility has been built at the Process&Energy Department of the Delft University of Technology. The present work mainly aims at contributing to the commissioning of the shock tube. Computational fluid dynamics simulations, employing a real gas equation of state, are performed to understand the complex unsteady phenomena occuring inside the shock tube during experimental runs. The numerical solution found shows significant departure from the theoretically expected solution. Though based on various assumptions, the achieved results provide insight into the real flow field that the experimenter may generate in shock tube facilities.