The one-dimensional flow induced by impulsively withdrawing a piston in a vibrationally relaxing gas is examined in detail. The flow is calculated in two ways, both by the method of characteristics and by means of a series expansion. The agreement between the two methods is very close in the region close to the centre of the expansion. Particular attention is paid to conditions at the tail of the expansion fan. The series solution is made uniformly valid by applying the boundary conditions on the actual tail rather than the linearized (frozen) tail and the flow is continuous and shock-free in its initial stages. Extending the calculations further from the centre of expansion confirms the existence of a de-excitation shock.
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