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Schlieren Photography

Schlieren photography is a method of photographing airflow utilizing refraction. It can be applied to visualize things like heat off of a flame, the air pressure around a bullet, a plane breaking the sound barrier, and more.

Schlieren photography requires a precise setup of a light, camera, and mirror. In the Spring of 2022, I built a setup to be able to take my own schlieren photographs. Building this setup required working with electronics to make a very small, controllable, and high powered point light source, 3D modeling and printing to build mounts for various components, and a lot of patience dialing in the exact angles of the light/mirror/camera and camera settings.

In the images below, you can see the disturbed airflow around the flame from the effects of the heat.

Animated GIF of a match burning to completion

Still of the phosphorus a match lighting

Still of a candle burning

In this image, a steady breeze from the left was applied

Last updated on 2023-05-18