Experiments were conducted in Earth gravity and microgravity to acquire quantitative data on near field flow structure of helium jets injected into air. Microgravity conditions were simulated in the 2.2-second drop tower at NASA Glenn Research Center. The jet flow was observed by quantitative rainbow schlieren deflectometry, a non-intrusive line of site measurement technique for the whole field. The flow structure was characterized by distributions of angular deflection and helium mole percentage obtained from color schlieren images taken at 60 Hz. Results show that the jet flow was significantly influenced by the gravity. The jet in microgravity was up to 70 percent wider than that in Earth gravity. The jet flow oscillations observed in Earth gravity were absent in microgravity, providing direct experimental evidence that the flow instability in the low--density jet was buoyancy induced. The paper provides quantitative details of temporal flow evolution as the experiment undergoes a change in gravity in the drop tower.
Yep, T.-W., Agrawal, A.K., Griffin, D., Gravitational Effects on Near Field Flow Structure of Low Density Gas Jets, AIAA Annual Meeting, AIAA, Reston, VA, October 30, 2001.