Identifying a superfluid reynolds number via dynamical similarity

M. T. Reeves, T. P. Billam, B. P. Anderson, A. S. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The Reynolds number provides a characterization of the transition to turbulent flow, with wide application in classical fluid dynamics. Identifying such a parameter in superfluid systems is challenging due to their fundamentally inviscid nature. Performing a systematic study of superfluid cylinder wakes in two dimensions, we observe dynamical similarity of the frequency of vortex shedding by a cylindrical obstacle. The universality of the turbulent wake dynamics is revealed by expressing shedding frequencies in terms of an appropriately defined superfluid Reynolds number, Res, that accounts for the breakdown of superfluid flow through quantum vortex shedding. For large obstacles, the dimensionless shedding frequency exhibits a universal form that is well-fitted by a classical empirical relation. In this regime the transition to turbulence occurs at Res≈0.7, irrespective of obstacle width.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155302
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 16 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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