Huge Reynolds numbers in small apparatus

Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste

Flows possessing kinematic and geometric similarities are also dynamically similar if the appropriate dimensionless parameters are matched. The most important dimensionless parameter for many flows is the Reynolds number; for thermal convection, it is the Rayleigh number. For practical purposes as well as fundamental understanding, one needs to study flows at very high values of these dimensionless parameters. This task is accomplished best by using helium as the working fluid. Examples of how the properties of helium-4 can be used to advantage will be discussed by citing results from recent studies. These examples will correspond to both the normal and superfluid states of helium.

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