Interim Report

Team Number: 022
School Name: Bowker Home School
Area of Science: Mechanical Engineering
Project Title: Simulating a Shock Wave
Project Abstract: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/abstracts/XXX.html
Interim Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/interims/XXX.html
Final Report: http://mode.lanl.k12.nm.us/97.98/finalreports/XXX/finalreport.html

The purpose of this project is to produce a simulation of a wave an object produces when it moves through the air at the speed of sound. According to Paul Hewitt in Conceptual Physics, an object's vibration produces a wave. "Sound is the propagation of vibrations through a material medium-a solid, liquid, or gas."1 The speed of a wave is "how frequently a distance equal to the wavelength is traveled."2 To understand what happens when an object vibrates at the speed of sound, we have to explain wave barriers. "When the speed of a source is as great as the speed of the waves it produces...a 'wave barrier' is produced... The same thing happens when an aircraft travels at the speed of sound. The waves overlap to produce a barrier of compressed air on the leading edges of the wings and other parts of the craft."3 In three dimensions this wave barrier forms a cone which continues to get bigger until it reaches the ground. "The shock wave is actually made up of two cones - a high-pressure cone with the apex at the bow and a low-pressure cone with the apex at the tail."4 The first part of this project will be to simulate this cone. The program will look something like this: Define variables
Object shape
Object speed
Density of air
Waves object produces
Show waves in 2d
If time allows 3d graph
The other part of this project is to attempt to design an object that will not produce a harmful shock wave.
1. Paul G. Hewitt, Conceptual Physics, HarperCollins College
Publishers, NY, NY, 1993, pg. 322
2. Ibid, pg. 326
3. Ibid, pg. 333
4. Ibid, pg. 335

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New Mexico High School Supercomputing Challenge