Journal of Undergraduate Research


weak Mach, reflection regime, Mach stem formation, shock waves


Physical and Mathematical Sciences


Physics and Astronomy


When a shock wave reflects off a rigid surface with certain combinations of incident shock strength and angle, a Mach reflection can occur. This is when portions of the incident and reflected waves merge to create a stronger shock called a Mach stem that travels parallel to the reflecting surface. This phenomenon has been studied extensively for two extreme cases: large outdoor explosions and small, laboratory experiments of weak shocks. The purpose of this project was to design and execute an outdoor experiment where this phenomenon could be observed by microphones as well as high speed video imaging to detect the distance from the source where Mach stem formation occurs.