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Second-mode wave growth within the hypersonic boundary layer of a slender cone is investigated experimentally using high-speed schlieren visualizations. Experiments were performed in AEDC Tunnel 9 over a range of unit Reynolds number conditions at a Mach number of approximately 14. A thin lens with a known density profile placed within the field of view enables calibration of the schlieren set-up, and the relatively high camera frame rates employed allow for the reconstruction of time-resolved pixel intensities at discrete streamwise locations. The calibration in conjunction with the reconstructed signals enables integrated spatial amplification rates (
factors) to be calculated for each unit Reynolds number condition and compared to
factors computed from both pressure transducer measurements and linear parabolized stability equation (PSE) solutions. Good agreement is observed between
factors computed from the schlieren measurements and those computed from the PSE solutions for the most-amplified second-mode frequencies. The streamwise development of
factors calculated from the schlieren measurements compares favourably to that calculated from the pressure measurements with slight variations in the
factor magnitudes calculated for harmonic frequencies. Finally, a bispectral analysis is carried out to identify nonlinear phase-coupled quadratic interactions present within the boundary layer. Multiple interactions are identified and revealed to be associated with the growth of disturbances at higher harmonic frequencies.
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