The nucleation of superfluid turbulence at very low temperatures by flow through a grid

William Vinen, L Skrbek, HA Nichol

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Recent experiments by Nichol et al. (cond-mat/0309245 v2) have been concerned with the dynamical behaviour of a grid oscillating in superfluid He-4 at a very low temperature, where the normal fluid can be ignored. An interesting enhancement of the effective mass of the grid was observed above a first threshold velocity, without significant increase in damping. Only above a second larger threshold was there a large increase in damping, resulting, we presume, from the generation of turbulence. We show now how the increase in effective mass can be understood in terms of an adiabatic response of the remanent quantized vortices that are known to be present, usually, in superfluid helium. Only at the larger threshold is the adiabatic response replaced by a dissipative evolution into a turbulent tangle of vortex lines. We present a semi-quantitative analysis of the experimental results, which suggests strongly that the remanent vortices must take the form of a rather high density of vortex loops attached to the grid. But confirmation of our ideas must await the completion of further experiments and a programme of non-trivial computer simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-445
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Low Temperature Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


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