Schlieren Flow Visualization is a method to see small differences in air pressure like those around a flame; essentially it allows you to *see* air. It is typically accomplished with super fancy mirrors that can cost upwards of $300. This instructable is about making a Schlieren Flow Visualization really cheaply and pretty easily. If you are curious about my failed attempts before I got it to work then visit my DIR Schlieren Flow page.

Here are all the components you need:

  • A pair of rigid page magnifiers (this $9 pair on amazon was perfect).
  • A cheap LED light, and something to attach it to, like a chair leg.
  • A *DLSR camera and books to set the camera on or a tripod
  • Cardboard+tape to make a stand for the magnifier.
  • Candles, or something hot/cold or otherwise interesting to look at

*other cameras might work too but I couldn't get the effect to work with my point & shoots.

Step 1: How It Works

The basic idea is you need to get something hot like a candle in the middle of some parallel light rays - then focus those rays back to almost a point – knocking out half of the rays that didn't line up exactly parallel. The first page magnifier makes the light from the LED parallel (collaminated) then the other one focuses the light back again. The camera is placed right where the light focuses and angled to the side so that some non-parallel rays are blocked by the aperture.

You need to position the camera carefully, but patience is an ample substitute for fancy equipment :O

<p>Thank you very much, </p><p>this so simple technics has been very useful, </p><p>thanks again!</p><p>Marco (from Italy)</p>
<p>Thanks Marco!</p>
<p>I found an old telescope mirror I have not used for twenty five years and made a Schlieren rig. Although it uses slightly different materials the results are astounding. I will try your instructions, as well. Great write up.</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvJ5q_gUfwk&amp;list=UUivJid6dvtQ9REao8Th2asg</p>
<p>Amazing! You can get much more super results from a mirror like that since it probably has much greater precision.</p>
<p>What frame rate is needed on the camera?</p>
<p>No special frame rate is needed. The videos you see are real-time and you can watch it unfold on your camera's screen.</p>
<p>Thank you very much, </p><p>this so simple technics has been very useful, </p><p>thanks again!</p><p>Marco (from Italy)</p>
<p>Nice music)<br>And cool project)</p>
<p>This is really cool! </p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a data scientist at Whoop, founder of Loud Bicycle an Awesome Foundation trustee, and a LanseyBrothers blogger. See www.Jonathan.Lansey.net to ... More »
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