Design, Realization, and Application of an Ultra-High-Speed Shock Tube for Middle-Ear MechanicsPublic
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WPI researchers and Massachusetts Eye and Ear are currently conducting novel research on the fracture mechanics of the Tympanic Membrane (TM) in real-time through high-speed optical techniques. We designed, constructed, and characterized an ultra-high-speed shock tube to produce controlled acoustic shock waves, enabling accurate and repeatable investigations on the mechanics of the TM at high loading rates. Rankine-Hugoniot relations and computational fluid dynamics were used to predict the device behavior, and a series of high-frequency pressure sensors confirmed these computational results. High-speed cameras were incorporated with Schlieren photography methods to image and analyze the produced shock fronts. The developed apparatus was validated through rupture tests on actual human TMs.
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