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Specialised Imaging Ltd.

6 Harvington Park
Pitstone Green Business Park
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1442 827728

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Schlieren Imaging Reveals Secrets of Air Spark Gap

Schlieren Imaging Reveals Secrets of Air Spark Gap

Product News Monday, December 16, 2019: Specialised Imaging Ltd.

Specialised Imaging has produced an application note that describes how its SIM8 ultra high speed camera has been used to capture images of a shock wave produced from a triggered high voltage air spark gap.

A spark gap consists of an arrangement of two conducting electrodes separated by a gap usually filled with a gas such as air, designed to allow an electric spark to pass between the conductors. Understanding this ultra fast process has traditionally presented researchers with many challenges.

Using a SIM8 Camera running at 5 Million frames per second with 35 nanosecond exposures a series of pseudo Schlieren images were captured showing the shock wave resulting from the triggering of a 1.5KV air spark gap. Two of the camera's output triggers were used to synchronize the triggering of a 1.5KV air spark gap and to pre-trigger the xenon flash lamp used as the Schlieren light source.

Schlieren imaging reveals shock waves due to air density gradient and the accompanying change in refractive index. Such shock waves can be deduced from distortions of the background pattern resulting from the change in refractive index due to density gradients.

Specialised Imaging SIM Series ultra fast framing cameras offer the ultimate in ultra-high-speed imaging performance to scientists and engineers across all disciplines. The high performance optical design offers up to 16 images without compromising shading, or parallax. High resolution intensified CCD sensors controlled by state-of-the-art electronics provide almost infinite control over gain and exposure to allow researchers the flexibility to capture even the most difficult phenomena.

To read the application note in full please visit For further information about SIM ultra high speed framing cameras please 
contact Specialised Imaging on +44-1442-827728 (UK) / +1-951-296-6406 (USA) / +49-8141-666-8950 (Germany) / +86-1068-651-769 (China) / 

Specialised Imaging is a knowledgeable, dynamic company focused upon design, manufacture, service and supply of ultra high-speed imaging systems and components for industrial, defence and scientific applications.  The company's continuing policy is to invest in the development of innovative imaging solutions, incorporate the latest technological advances and use improved components wherever possible. A total commitment to quality and a thorough understanding of applications are held as the keys  to the future.
Image Cations:  (A) SIM Series ultra fast framing camera ; (B) Schlieren imaging of shock wave from triggered air spark gap    

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Specialised Imaging Ltd.
6 Harvington Park,
Pitstone Green Business Park,
Pitstone LU7 9GX
United Kingdom

tel. +44-1442-827728
fax +44-1442-827830

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Specialised Imaging Inc.

41690 Enterprise Circle North
Temecula CA 92590
United States

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Media Contact:
Dr Bill Bradbury      Primetek Solutions