Discovery Channel uses Photron cameras to capture high-speed events

January 16, 2009--Discovery Channel's new series Time Warp uses new technologies to bring never-before-seen wonders into a visual form that your body can actually process, with the help of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist and teacher Jeff Lieberman, along with digital-imaging expert Matt Kearney of Tech Imaging Services. In one example, a Photron (San Diego, CA) high-speed camera captures a whip blowing out a candle and the shock wave that follows.

January 16, 2009--Discovery Channel's new series Time Warp uses new technologies to bring never-before-seen wonders into a visual form that your body can actually process, with the help of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist and teacher Jeff Lieberman, along with digital-imaging expert Matt Kearney of Tech Imaging Services. In one example, a Photron (San Diego, CA) high-speed camera captures a whip blowing out a candle and the shock wave that follows.

Using the latest in high-speed photography, the Time Warp team takes some natural events (a cat licking its paw, a champagne bottle being opened) and some not-so-natural (a water balloon to the face, a raw piece of chicken exploding) and turns them into a thing of both beauty and learning.

This footage of a whip blowing out a candle was captured with Photron's Fastcam SA1 high-speed camera at 20,000 frames per second:

The video shows the shock wave as the tip from a whip goes through the flame of a candle. The visual effect is from the German word "schlieren", which means striations--the optical inhomogeneities in transparent material not visible to the human eye. Schlieren physics developed out of the need to produce high-quality lenses void of these inhomogeneities. These inhomogeneities are localized differences in optical path length that cause light deviation. This light deviation is converted to shadow in a schlieren system, hence the interesting visual effect seen in this high-speed video. The 'Schlieren Apparatus' was built by professor J. Kim Vandiver and operated by James W. Bales at the MIT Edgerton Center.

As they become available, more high-speed videos will be posted to our video player on the Laser Focus World website and can be viewed by clicking the VIDEO link on the home page.

Photography and videos are courtesy of Photron for their Fastcam SA1 High Speed Camera capture; Matt Kearney of Tech Imaging Services and co-host of the Discovery Channel TV Series, Time Warp; and The Discovery Channel for permission to post videos as seen on Time Warp.

For more information about Schlieren photography, go to www.answers.com/topic/schlieren-photography.

For more information about Photron's high-speed cameras, go to www.photron.com.

--Posted by Gail Overton, gailo@pennwell.com.

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