The Manchester Bee goes hypersonic!

The School of MACE has been putting everyone’s favourite bee through its paces this week. The aerospace team made a 2D brass model of the Manchester bee and filmed it using a Phantom VEO 640 high-speed colour camera at 1.4kHz and 4 megapixel resolution.

In hypersonic flow (Mach 5+) the air density is no longer constant, and when light rays are passed through the changes in density caused by the shockwaves, they are refracted and change direction. The Schlieren technique uses a light source and optics to resolve the deviation of the light rays into an image of the shockwaves forming around the bee, as demonstrated in the picture provided. 

The hypersonic tunnel at Manchester is unique in the UK as it is the only long duration hypersonic facility capable of producing Mach numbers 4,5 and 6 for testing durations of 6.5 seconds and was recently upgraded to improve recharge times and reliability. 

▲ Up to the top