High-Reynolds-number turbulence in small apparatus: grid turbulence in cryogenic liquids

Academic Article


  • Liquid helium at 4.2 K has a viscosity that is about 40 times smaller than that of water at room temperature, and about 600 times smaller than that of air at atmospheric pressure. It is therefore a convenient fluid for generating in a table-top apparatus turbulent flows at high Reynolds numbers that require large air and water facilities. Here, we produce turbulence behind towed grids in a liquid helium chamber that is 5 cm2 in cross-section at mesh Reynolds numbers of up to 7×105. Liquid nitrogen is intermediate in its viscosity as well as refrigeration demands, and so we also exploit its use to generate towed-grid turbulence up to mesh Reynolds number of about 2×104. In both instances, we map two-dimensional fields of velocity vectors using particle image velocimetry, and compare the data with those in water and air.
  • Authors

  • White, Christopher
  • Karpetis, AN
  • Sreenivasan, KR
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 10, 2002
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 189
  • End Page

  • 197
  • Volume

  • 452