Physics of superfluid helium-4 vortex tangles in normal-fluid strain fields

Demosthenes Kivotides, Anthony Leonard

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By employing dimensional analysis, we scale the equations of the mesoscopic model of finite temperature superfluid hydrodynamics. Based on this scaling, we set up three problems that depict the effects of kinematic, normal-fluid strain fields on superfluid vortex loops, and characterize small-scale processes in fully developed turbulence. We also develop a formula for the computation of energy spectra corresponding to superfluid vortex tangles in unbounded domains. Employing this formula, we compute energy spectra of superfluid vortex patterns induced by uniaxial, equibiaxial, and simple-shear normal-fluid flows. By comparing the steady-state superfluid spectra and vortex structures, we conclude that normal-flow strain fields do not play an important role in explaining the phenomenology of fully developed superfluid turbulence. This is in sharp contrast with the role of vortical normal-flow fields in offering plausible, structural explanations of superfluid vortex patterns and spectra entailed in numerical turbulent solutions of the mesoscopic model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044702
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


  • superfluid hydrodynamics
  • vortex loops
  • turbulence
  • vortex tangles


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