6A40.60 - Schlieren Optics

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Schlieren Optics
Index of Refreaction
Area of Study:
Optics, Astronomy
Large mounted telescope mirror, I-pad on aluminum stand with HDMI adaptor, magnetic flashlight stand, LED flashlight with aluminum foil pinhole mask, matches, grill lighter, lab jack, small plastic beakers for hot water.

Place the mirror appoximately 2 meters from the I-pad camera lens.  (There is a string attached to the mirror that will allow you to easily start with the proper 2 meter distance).  You can carefully move the I-pad back and forth so that the mirror image completely fill the camera lens aperture.  Set the I-pad to maximum zoom, focus, and then adjust the brightness until the image on the mirror shows good index of refraction phenomenon.  The simplest way to get this adjustment right is to put a cup of hot water in front of the mirror and the adjust for maximum contrast.  Hot water, your hand, a lit match, a lit grill lighter, an unlit grill lighter showing the gas discharge, ice cubes, a bit of CO2, your breath, will all show very good Schlieren effects.  

  • Gearhart and MacIsaac, A Practical Classroom iPad Shadowgraph System, TPT, Vol. 58, #8, Nov. 2020, p. 8.
  • Greenslade, The Foley Acoustic Wave Front Slides, TPT, Vol. 42, #4, Apr. 2004, p. 231.
  • Geisert, A Single Mirror Schlieren Optical System, AJP, Vol. 52, #5, May 1984, p. 467.
  • Mitra, Chaskar and Phadke, Design and Fabrication of a Simple Schlierenscope, AJP, Vol. 49, #2, Feb. 1981, p. 158.

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