Measurements of Turbulence Onset and Dissipation in Superfluid Helium with a Silicon Double Paddle Oscillator

Research paper by E. Zemma, J. Luzuriaga

Indexed on: 01 Dec '11Published on: 01 Dec '11Published in: Journal of low temperature physics


We have studied experimentally the response of a silicon single crystal double paddle oscillator submerged in superfluid helium from the lambda point to 1.55 K. Measuring the resonance frequency and dissipation on three modes of this high Q system allows us to study the dissipation at the onset of turbulence in the flow around the paddle. The critical velocity Vc for turbulence onset decreases with temperature. If we use the density of the normal component of the superfluid to obtain a Reynolds number Re associated with Vc we find a value which is largely temperature independent. This result is different from the behavior previously found by other authors below 1 K, where the quantized vorticity (extrinsic nucleation) is observed at velocities more than an order of magnitude greater. In our temperature range, we conclude that the transition is governed by the normal fraction acting as a classical fluid. The laminar regime shows a dissipation that is proportional to the viscous drag calculated by well known formulas for an object oscillating in a liquid. We also find a decrease in resonance frequency in the turbulent regime which is clearly observed but hard to reproduce from run to run.