Mesoscale Equipartition of kinetic energy in Quantum Turbulence

Abstract : The turbulence of superfluid helium is investigated numerically at finite temperature. Direct numerical simulations are performed with a ''truncated HVBK" model, which combines the continuous description of the Hall-Vinen-Bekeravich-Khalatnikov equations with the additional constraint that this continuous description cannot extend beyond a quantum length scale associated with the mean spacing between individual superfluid vortices. A good agreement is found with experimental measurements of the vortex density. Besides, by varying the turbulence intensity only, it is observed that the inter-vortex spacing varies with the Reynolds number as $Re^{-3/4}$, like the viscous length scale in classical turbulence. In the high temperature limit, Kolmogorov's inertial cascade is recovered, as expected from previous numerical and experimental studies. As the temperature decreases, the inertial cascade remains present at large scales while, at small scales, the system evolves towards a statistical equipartition of kinetic energy among spectral modes, with a characteristic $k^2$ velocity spectrum. The accumulation of superfluid excitations on a range of mesoscales enables the superfluid to keep dissipating kinetic energy through mutual friction with the residual normal fluid, although the later becomes rare at low temperature. It is found that most of the superfluid vorticity can concentrate on these mesoscales at low temperature, while it is concentrated in the inertial range at higher temperature. This observation should have consequences on the interpretation of decaying turbulence experiments, which are often based on vortex line density measurements.
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Julien Salort, Philippe-Emmanuel Roche, Emmanuel Lévêque. Mesoscale Equipartition of kinetic energy in Quantum Turbulence. EPL - Europhysics Letters, European Physical Society/EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/IOP Publishing, 2011, 94, pp.24001. ⟨10.1209/0295-5075/94/24001⟩. ⟨hal-00586900⟩

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