Laval number

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Physical key figure
Surname Laval number
Formula symbol
dimension dimensionless
Flow velocity
critical speed of sound
Named after Gustav de Laval
scope of application compressible flows

The Laval-number  (after Gustav de Laval ) or Mach number is a similarity measure of gas dynamics . It results from the ratio of the local flow velocity to the critical speed of sound :    

It is

  • The critical speed of sound is  the speed of sound that would result if the flow were to accelerate (or decelerate) to the speed of sound without loss of heat or friction
  • the isentropic exponent
  • the specific gas constant
  • the critical temperature (explanation see below)
  • the resting temperature .

The speed of sound is temperature dependent and the temperature decreases in an accelerated gas flow. The speed of sound is therefore subject to changes along the flow path. The condition in which a gas flow flows at the speed of sound is called the critical point . This point is reached in the narrowest cross-section of a Laval nozzle (with a sufficiently large pressure gradient) . The critical temperature prevails there , which is in a fixed ratio to the resting temperature.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ E. Truckenbrodt: Fluid Mechanics: Basics and Technical Applications . Springer-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 3-662-41599-2 , p. 270 ( limited preview in Google Book search).