Micro shock tubes are widely employed in many micro instruments which require high speed and high temperature flow field. The small flow dimension introduces additional flow physics such as rarefaction effects, viscous effects etc, which makes the micro shock tube different from conventional macro shock tubes. In the present study, a numerical investigation of the flow physics associated with shock propagation and reflection inside micro shock tubes was carried out using unsteady Navier Stokes equations. Maxwell's slip boundary conditions were incorporated to simulate the rarefaction effects produced due to low pressure and very small length scale. The effect of initial pressures on the shock propagation was investigated keeping the pressure ratio constant. The dependency of the shock tube diameter on shock propagation was also investigated. The results show that shock strength attenuates drastically in a micro shock tube compared to macro shock tubes. The viscous boundary layer becomes a governing parameter in controlling micro shock tube wave propagations. The implementation of slip velocity to model rarefaction effects increases the shock strength and aids in shock wave propagation. The simulation with slip wall exhibits a wider hot zone (shock-contact distance) compared to no-slip simulation. The contact surface propagation distance reduces under the slip effects. A drastic attenuation in shock propagation distance was observed with reduction in diameter. The shock wave when reflected from the end wall inhibits the rarefaction effects, generally happening at very low pressure micro shock tubes, and the associated slip effect vanishes for the post reflected shock flow field. © 2013 The Korean Society of Mechanical Engineers and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.