Nonlinear reflection of grazing acoustic shock waves: unsteady transition from von Neumann to Mach to Snell–Descartes reflections.

*(English)*Zbl 1147.76589Summary: We study the reflection of acoustic shock waves grazing at a small angle over a rigid surface. Depending on the incidence angle and the Mach number, the reflection patterns are mainly categorized into two types, namely regular reflection and irregular reflection. In the present work, using the nonlinear KZ equation, this reflection problem is investigated for extremely weak shocks as encountered in acoustics. A critical parameter, defined as the ratio of the sine of the incidence angle and the square root of the acoustic Mach number, is introduced in a natural way. For step shocks, we recover the self-similar (pseudo-steady) nature of the reflection, which is well known from von Neumann’s work. Four types of reflection as a function of the critical parameter can be categorized. Thus, we describe the continuous but nonlinear and non-monotonic transition from linear reflection (according to the Snell–Descartes laws) to the weak von-Neumann-type reflection observed for almost perfectly grazing incidence. This last regime is a new, one-shock regime, in contrast with the other, already known, two-shock (regular reflection) or three-shock (von Neumann-type reflection) regimes. Hence, the transition also resolves another paradox on acoustic shock waves addressed by von Neumann in his classical paper. However, step shocks are quite unrealistic in acoustics. Therefore, we investigate the generalization of this transition for N-waves or periodic sawtooth waves, which are more appropriate for acoustics. Our results show an unsteady reflection effect necessarily associated with the energy decay of the incident wave. This effect is the counterpart of step-shock propagation over a concave surface. For a given value of the critical parameter, all the patterns categorized for the step shock may successively appear when the shock is propagating along the surface, starting from weak von-Neumann-type reflection, then gradually turning to von Neumann reflection and finally evolving into nonlinear regular reflection. This last one will asymptotically result in linear regular reflection (Snell–Descartes). The transition back to regular reflection is one of two types, depending on whether a secondary reflected shock is observed. The latter case, here described for the first time, appears to be related to the non-constant state behind the incident shock, which prevents secondary reflection.