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
MAR 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 03, 2020
All About Fluorocarbon Use in Aircraft and Auto Engines
Fluorocarbon rubber is a popular choice for use in aircraft and auto engines. It is a material with high resistance to c ...
MAR 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 03, 2020
What Makes Black Holes So Mysterious?
Black holes are mysterious objects that have long tickled the interest of astronomers and physicists alike. They’r ...
MAR 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 23, 2020
Here's Why the Planets Orbit the Sun How They Do
All the solar system’s planets follow nearly the same plane and direction as they orbit the Sun, and this is somet ...
APR 16, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
APR 16, 2020
Nanoemulsion Speeds up THC Absorption in Edibles
Cannabis products infused with nanoemulsion boast many advantages over more traditionally manufactured edibles, and are ...
MAY 01, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 01, 2020
John Conway: the Late Maths Legend and His Game of Life
If maths is the only universal language, then John Horton Conway is among the few who can speak it perfectly. Unfortunat ...
MAY 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 06, 2020
Electronic nose could detect COPD
An electronic nose capable of identifying respiratory tract infections could come in great handy in times like these. At ...
Loading Comments...