JUN 20, 2018 11:38 AM PDT

What is Schlieren Imaging

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

The photographic technique known as Schlieren photography gets its name from the German word "Schliere", meaning "streak". It was first developed to visualize the airflow around objects such as the wings of airplanes. 

How does Schlieren photography work? It produces well contrasted-pictures based on the difference in gas or liquid density. For example, when a gas is heated it expands, therefore, its density drops; as the temperature cools, it contracts and its density increases. When collimated (in parallel) light rays pass through fluidic materials with different densities, they refract and produce shadow-like area in the image.

In the classic setup, the parallel rays are focused onto a single point by literally using the edge of a knife. Many of the current optical schlieren methods replace knife-edge with a colored target, which produces schlieren shadows with a rainbow hue that adds extra features to visualization.

Source: Veritasium via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
OCT 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The mysteries of tiny surfing robots revealed
OCT 11, 2020
The mysteries of tiny surfing robots revealed
Mechanical engineers from Michigan Technological University have implemented the laws of surface tension and propulsion ...
OCT 18, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Monitoring ocean chemistry over the last forty years
OCT 18, 2020
Monitoring ocean chemistry over the last forty years
A study published recently in Nature Communications Earth & Environment contemplates the changing chemistry and ...
OCT 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Ever-Evolving Battle to Fight Corrosion in Nuclear Reactors
OCT 23, 2020
The Ever-Evolving Battle to Fight Corrosion in Nuclear Reactors
Since its birth in the early 20th century, atomic research has brought mostly positive impacts to our lives. This week i ...
OCT 25, 2020
Plants & Animals
Flexible Film Can Change Color Like Chameleon Skin
OCT 25, 2020
Flexible Film Can Change Color Like Chameleon Skin
Chameleons are well known for their ability to change the color of their skin to blend in with their surroundings, send ...
NOV 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The physics behind the face mask
NOV 25, 2020
The physics behind the face mask
A study published in Physics of Fluids investigates the physics of face masks to better comprehend how we can effectivel ...
DEC 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Coolest Molecules of 2020
DEC 27, 2020
The Coolest Molecules of 2020
2020 was a chaotic, stressful year for most, but it did not stop innovative ideas and creative scientific thinking from ...
Loading Comments...