High-Reynolds-number turbulence in small apparatus: grid turbulence in cryogenic liquids Academic Article uri icon


  • 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 7105. 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 2104. 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.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • White, C. M., Karpetis, A. N., & Sreenivasan, K. R.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • White, CM||Karpetis, AN||Sreenivasan, KR

publication date

  • February 2002