Optical diagnostics including schlieren, shadowgraphy, and background-oriented schlieren (BOS) are used to visualize shock waves and compressible flow phenomena present in energetic and explosive events. These techniques visualize refractive index variations to obtain a range of qualitative and quantitative information. A one-dimensional explosively-driven shock tube facility is used with schlieren imaging to measure shock wave propagation speeds from explosive-thermite mixtures. The schlieren imaging visualizes turbulent flow structures in the expanding product gas region. An imaging spectrometer is paired with the schlieren imaging to quantify the mixing of the explosive product gases with the ambient environment. Shadowgraphy is applied to image field-scale explosive tests. The shadowgraph images reveal shock waves, fragment motion and speed, and the motion of product gases. BOS is a modern technique for visualizing refractive fields via their distortion of a background pattern. Here the technique is applied to image field-scale explosive events using the ambient background of the test pad. The BOS images clearly show shock wave propagation and reflection from surfaces, which is not clearly visible in the raw high-speed digital images.

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