Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering


Heat transfer by free convection is a commonly encountered phenomenon and yet is difficult to analyze and evaluate. It would prove interesting and informative to obtain a view of the disturbance in the field of flow, and also quantitative data to evaluate temperature variations and analyze the heat transferred. Therefore it was proposed to build a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, not only to give a “picture” of the phenomenon but also to supply sufficient information to determine temperature distribution in the flow field and aid in the determination of the free convection coefficient. Such a versatile instrument is the Mach-Zehnder interferometer which shows the density pattern and does not interfere with the flow. The measuring probe or tool in the interferometer is a beam of monochromatic light, split into two coherent beams. One half is directed past the heated surface, the other over a path with no disturbances. Another distinct advantage of the interferometer over other instruments is its ability to record transient phenomena, the only limitation imposed being the speed of the photographic recorder.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Heat -- Transmission


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University