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Ndeye Fatimata Issaga Sy

Oscillating grid turbulence at low temperatures

Published on 17 October 2016
Thesis presented October 17, 2016

This thesis aims at comparing the isothermal turbulence in Helium I (HeI, classical fluid) and in Helium II (HeII, which has one inviscid component) through a Lagrangian analysis. Analogies and/or differences between the classical and superfluid behaviors are expected to shed new light on the intrinsic multi-scale properties of turbulence. This is a pioneering study, as no similar cryogenic experiment had been performed prior to this thesis, which opens a full range of possible future studies (as an example, similar measurements of Lagrangian tracking in the wake of an oscillating cylinder, are currently in progress at Charles University in Prague). We opted for an oscillating grid turbulence generation, which produces isotropic and homogeneous (per plane) turbulence, with no mean velocity (hence allowing longer observation times). As tracers we use hollow glass microspheres, which are almost neutrally buoyant in liquid Helium. This being a new facility, significant effort was dedicated to the design and the tailoring of the experiment, its implementation and the calibration of the flow. The cryostat hosting the experiment is fully transparent (made of glass), allowing visualization at multiple angles. Measurements were performed using high speed imaging in backlight illumination. Particle trajectories were reconstructed using Lagrangian tracking, from which we performed analysis of single particle statistics (single time and two times) as well as relative dispersion of pairs of particles. The spatial and temporal resolution of our measurements give us access to the dynamics of the flow at inertial scales, while dissipative scales are marginally resolved. In these conditions, we find that turbulence in HeI behaves in agreement with previous results obtained in similar flows using classical fluids. Interestingly, the same turbulence properties stands also for superfluid conditions.

Turbulence, Oscillating grid, Superfluid helium, Particles, Visualization, Lagrangian approach

On-line thesis.