Measurement of the Pressure Distribution and Drag on a Sphere in Flowing Helium I and Helium II

  • M. R. Smith
  • S. W. Van Sciver
Part of the Advances in Cryogenic Engineering book series (ACRE, volume 43)


We have designed and constructed an apparatus for measuring the pressure distribution around a sphere as a function of Reynolds number (mass flow rate) in both He I and He II. Liquid helium possesses kinematic viscosities nearly three orders of magnitude smaller than that of air. This offers the possibility of correspondingly higher Reynolds numbers to engineers carrying out dynamic similarity studies of modern high performance aircraft and marine vessels. Important questions remain however, about the fundamental nature of turbulence in liquid helium. Additionally, many techniques in common use for room temperature fluid dynamics experiments are not well developed for low temperatures. Our goal in this work was to demonstrate one technique for measuring the pressure distribution and drag on a sphere in flowing liquid helium. A further goal was to compare our findings with classical results in the hope of assessing the degree to which helium II and helium I behave classically within the context of a classical fluid dynamics experiment.


Reynolds Number Test Section Mass Flow Rate Liquid Helium High Reynolds Number 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Smith
    • 1
  • S. W. Van Sciver
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National High Magnetic Field LaboratoryTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.FAMU-FSU College of EngineeringTallahasseeUSA

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