Blast wave

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A pressure wave , compression wave , density wave or compression wave is a longitudinal wave in a fluid or solid . Short-term fluctuations in the pressure in a medium propagate as a wave front . A fluctuation in pressure is accompanied by a fluctuation in density . Hence the waves are called both pressure and density waves.

A shock wave traverses a two-dimensional grid.

Depending on the type of pressure change, a distinction is made between

In astrophysics , we know the density wave theory , according to which density waves cause the formation of bar, spiral and bar-spiral shapes in a galaxy . A density wave is generated due to a velocity dispersion of a wave in the thermal gas and a potential wave in that the gas falls into the potential minima and compresses there.

Explosion waves ( detonation waves ) are particularly popularly referred to as pressure waves. Colloquially, the term is also used for any short-term gusts of wind, such as the blast of air from an avalanche or a large vehicle driving by; physically, however, these are not waves, but short-term currents .

See also


  • Marcelo Alonso, Edward J. Finn: Physics. 3. Edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-486-25327-1 .
  • Heinz Herwig, Bastian Schmandt: Fluid Mechanics. Physics - mathematical models - thermodynamic aspects. 3. Edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 2015, ISBN 978-3-662-45068-0 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Druckwelle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Blast wave. In: Spectrum of Science. (accessed on November 23, 2015)