Talk:Superfluid helium-4

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Physics / Fluid Dynamics  (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Physics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Physics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
This article is supported by Fluid Dynamics Taskforce.
 

Poorly Written for Encyclopedia[edit]

An encyclopedia is written for the educated layman, not the specialist. This article is terrible in that regard. Sentences like "Landau thought that vorticity entered superfluid 4He by vortex sheets, but such sheets were shown to be unstable" is totally devoid of context or meaning for anyone but the professional scientist. After reading this article it is hard to understand anything about what superfluidity actually is, which I only understood after checking popular science writing on the matter.

59.93.184.227 (talk) 06:08, 6 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is still a major problem -24.130.65.122 (talk) 21:49, 11 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, well, the theory behind the mechanics of superfluidity? Kind of a technical subject. But I was able to comprehend the majority of the article, including, most importantly, the introduction, and I have no expert knowledge on this subject. I'm not going to remove the flag at the top of the page, but I disagree with your views. --75.111.25.142 (talk) 02:55, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moved from helium II :[edit]

This is going to be moved from the Helium II subsection of helium, for that section is information which applies to all superfluids, as we know them now:

Liquid helium below its lambda point begins to exhibit very unusual characteristics, in a state called helium II. Boiling of helium II is not possible due to its high thermal conductivity; heat input instead causes evaporation of the liquid directly to gas. The isotope helium-3 also has a superfluid phase, but only at much lower temperatures; as a result, less is known about such properties in the isotope helium-3.

Helium II will "creep" along surfaces in order to find its own level - after a short while, the levels in the two containers will equalize. The Rollin film also covers the interior of the larger container; if it were not sealed, the helium II would creep out and escape.

Helium II is a superfluid, a quantum-mechanical state of matter with strange properties. For example, when it flows through even capillaries of 10-7 to 10-8 m width it has no measurable viscosity. However, when measurements were done between two moving discs, a viscosity comparable to that of gaseous helium was observed. Current theory explains this using the two-fluid model for Helium II. In this model, liquid helium below the lambda point is viewed as containing a proportion of helium atoms in a ground state, which are superfluid and flow with exactly zero viscosity, and a proportion of helium atoms in an excited state, which behave more like an ordinary fluid.

Helium II also exhibits a "creeping" effect. When a surface extends past the level of helium II, the helium II moves along the surface, seemingly against the force of gravity. Helium II will escape from an vessel that is not sealed by creeping along the sides until it reaches a warmer region where it evaporates. It moves in a 30 nm thick film regardless of surface material. This film is called a Rollin film and is named after the man who first characterized this trait, B. V. Rollin. As a result of this creeping behavior and helium II's ability to leak rapidly through tiny openings, it is very difficult to confine liquid helium. Unless the container is carefully constructed, the helium II will creep along the surfaces and through valves until it reaches somewhere warmer, where it will evaporate.

In the fountain effect, a chamber is constructed which is connected to a reservoir of helium II by a sintered disc through which superfluid helium leaks easily but through which non-superfluid helium cannot pass. If the interior of the container is heated, the superfluid helium changes to non-superfluid helium. In order to maintain the equilibrium fraction of superfluid helium, superfluid helium leaks through and increases the pressure, causing liquid to fountain out of the container.

The thermal conductivity of helium II is greater than that of any other known substance, a million times that of helium I and several hundred times that of copper. This is because heat conduction occurs by an exceptional quantum-mechanical mechanism. Most materials that conduct heat well have a valence band of free electrons which serve to transfer the heat. Helium II has no such valence band but nevertheless conducts heat well. The flow of heat is governed by equations that are similar to the wave equation used to characterize sound propagation in air. So when heat is introduced, it will move at 20 meters per second at 1.8 K through helium II as waves in a phenomenon called second sound.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Centrx (talkcontribs) 18:52, 27 July 2005.

Watch out for possible crank edits[edit]

I've noticed that a recent edit mentioning that superfluidity in connection with gravity is probably related to this website. I couldn't find any other connection, except a paper mentioning that superfluids behave mathematically much like space-time. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Peter bertok (talkcontribs) 12:34, 7 October 2005.

Film behavior in real life?[edit]

As this article and Talk page discuss, superfluids do some odd things. I've never seen this in real life, though. How difficult is it to set up a scenario in which a superfluid will flow out of a cup, or easily flow through a porous material? Can this be done at a macro scale as a demonstration or does it need to be done in a sealed container with small volumes of superfluid? —BenFrantzDale

Minor Edit[edit]

I made a minor edit to the last claim in the article. At American Physical Society and other meetings, Moses Chan has described the possible observation of supersolid hydrogen. In his good judgment, he did not publish this finding. Last week, in a private communication, he withdrew this claim upon the completion of another set of tests. The results for supersolid helium still stand. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 129.128.241.111 (talkcontribs) 15:16, 12 May 2006.

temperature gradient[edit]

"(It is thus impossible to set up a temperature gradient in a superfluid, much as it is impossible to set up a voltage difference in a superconductor.)"

This sentence is misleading. For example, if you put an ice cube and a hot iron on either side of a container with a superfluid, that is by definition a temperature gradient (whether or not there is a temperature gradient *inside* the fluid). However, heat conduction is limited by the speed of light, and thus temperature can't change instantaneously, and so temperature gradients must also exist inside superfluids - if only for an unmeasurable amount of time.

Similarly for a superconductor, put a battery's leads on either end of a superconductor. Again the speed of light is a limitation. Fresheneesz 03:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would say that's a trivial distinction.
Although I could be wrong, the quote in dispute seems to contradict Superconductor#Superconductors_in_popular_culture which states "superfluid helium has immense but finite heat conductivity" as well as helium which says that heat flows at a rate of 20 m/s through helium II. The article also states that helium's thermal conductivity is non-infinite referring to it instead as: "several hundred times that of copper". Unless I've made a mistake it seems that the section in question should be changed immediately.-Fiber B 00:35, 22 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible vandalism alert[edit]

Slashdot recently linked to an article that prominently linked to this page on Wikipedia so keep your eye out for vandals. --frothT C 07:43, 4 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

slowing a beam of light[edit]

I noticed that this article mentions Lene Hau slowing light to 17 meters per second with a superfluid the article for Lene Hau reads by 17 meters per second. Slowing a light beam to 17 meters per second would be much more extraordinary than by 17 meters per second but I am not sure which statement is true.162.84.60.14 00:48, 12 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

im pretty sure hua used a b-e condensate and not a super fluid... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.110.196.48 (talk) 13:00, 19 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Error in statement about superfluidity and slow light[edit]

The statement about slow light in this entry is misleading. The experiment mentioned (Lene Hau) did slow light in a superfluid medium (Bose-Einstein condensate) but the superfluidity of BEC plays no role in why the light slows down. Light slowing has been performed in non-superfluid media, and the two phenomena are not linked, they just happen to both be possible in a BEC. I'm new to editing wiki, and so won't make any changes to the entry until I understand how to go through the process and can make a good edit, but this is a heads up to anybody watching this page. Maybe more detail in under a new heading (slow light) would be appropriate? Lazerbrane 15:08, 3 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

one atom or 30 nm[edit]

The figure references the Rollin film article which says liquid helium forms a film 30 nm thick, but this article says it forms a layer one atom thick. Obviously one atom of helium is nowhere near 30 nm. I'm inclined to believe the 30 nm figure, but I don't understand why such a thick film is "needed" (energetically favorable). 70.15.116.59 03:38, 23 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perpetual Motion[edit]

It appears that super fluids display endless motion. If this is true then I wonder if we can extract free energy from it, the only barrier I can see would be keeping it -271 degrees Celsius. Any thoughts on this.

Valros333 (talk) 09:04, 13 January 2008 (UTC)Valros333Reply[reply]

You will not be able to extract continuous energy from it. If you do so the flow will slow down or stop. There may be perpetual motion, but not "free" energy. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:53, 13 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have a thought too: it will fail... utterly. All ideas of free energy ex nihilo only serves as a laughing topic for the vast majority of people. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 14:14, 10 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What would stop this from working? http://compaq.port0.org/perpetual_motion_machine.jpg Just curious, COMPAQ (talk) 06:55, 10 February 2011 (UTC) .Reply[reply]

If you could get a setup like that to work for a moment, it would eventually stop as the system cools down. That is, it might extract some heat energy from the system, but that's all. More likely, I think, you couldn't get the superfluid to form droplets -- it would stay stuck to the ceiling. Alternately, you could heat the bottom and cool the top and it would work great, but require energy. Actually, I can imagine the same sort of perpetual-motion attempt without using a superfluid, just using capillary action to lift a fluid "for free" and then harvesting that potential energy. Working through your example is a good physics exercise. The question you have to ask is "where is the energy coming from that lifts up the (super)fluid?" In the case of capillary action, it's basically that each water molecule "jumps" up with its own velocity from Brownian motion; when it "lands" higher than it started, we might expect it to be more likely to jump down in the next instant, but because of its affinity for the surface and its fellow water molecules, it actually is in a lower-energy state (i.e., "happier"). However, the energy it had when it "jumped" up has become potential energy, and so no magic happened and in bulk the liquid cooled off.
Actually, this thought experiment is not unlike hydropower. Water evaporates from the oceans, rains down, and we capture it. Of course, that cycle is powered by the sun. Even though superfluids don't experience friction, it still takes energy to lift them up, so the same logic applies. —Ben FrantzDale (talk) 12:01, 10 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Language cleanup needed[edit]

This article uses unnecessarily convoluted sentences. First sentence of the article:

Superfluidity is a phase of matter or description of heat capacity in which unusual effects are observed when liquids, typically of helium-4 or helium-3, overcome friction by surface interaction when at a stage, known as the "lambda point" for helium-4, at which the liquid's viscosity becomes zero.

Rulatir (talk) 18:46, 26 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

rotating container of superfluid[edit]

regarding a rotating container full of superfluid, what if the fluid is already rotating with the container as it is cooled below the point where it becomes superfluid? does it stop rotating? of so then where does its angular momentum go? also how exactly is the rotation of the superfluid measured? just-emery (talk) 00:23, 11 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Zero effective mass[edit]

Perfect vacuums are impossible to create here on earth but I seem to recall reading that a molecule floating in superfluid behaved exactly as it would in a perfect vacuum. If true then doesnt this imply that atoms in a superfluid behave as though they had zero effective mass? just-emery (talk) 04:15, 3 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

IRAS[edit]

IRAS page mentions about 475 liters of superfluid helium, not 750. Which is correct? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.219.148.15 (talk) 22:22, 30 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ouch! Prefixed-superscript notation like "4
He
" is too hard to read!
[edit]

The simple "helium-4" notation is far easier to read in narrative. The superscript notation may be good for concise formulas, but not for narrative. I don't have time to fix this right now, but if someone else can it would be helpful. Thanks! -- DBooth (talk) 17:48, 7 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Conducting superfluids are superconductors[edit]

[1] suggests that electrically conducting superfluids (as in a neutron star) are superconductors. Could some one say something about that in the article ? Are there any electrically conducting superfluids we can use on earth ? Rod57 (talk) 03:38, 25 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Propellor example[edit]

For example, a paddle or propeller would meet no resistance in superfluid helium, and would fail to push a boat. However, once in motion (for example, when pushed from the side of a pool), a hypothetical boat would continue to move, without slowing, until it reached the other side.

I'm pretty sure this is false. A propellor doesn't depend on any kind of dissipation in order to work, so it would work just as well in a perfect superfluid. You turn the propellor blades, the blades push the superfluid (because the superfluid can't actually penetrate the blades), and the boat moves because of the reaction force. There's no friction or dissipation involved, just normal force. Superfluids still feel the normal force.
If I'm totally wrong about this, there should be a reliable source that says so. —Keenan Pepper 06:11, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, now you've got me. I know that lift vanishes in He-II in the limit of low velocity (we neglect the normal non-superfluid component), but this may be classic aerodynamic lift that doesn't just rely on brute angle of attack. The experiment is a well known one done in 1957 by Craig and supervised by Feynman [2][3]. You can make an argument that a simple flat object dragged though He-II must have some drag because it pushes He-II out of the way. However, if that were true, all those experiments with He-II circulating around small objects in in a ring wouldn't work-- the simple drag of this kind would move the objects and stop the helium. Would it not? There are discussion on the web about whether or not your could swim in He-II (in the limit of perfect superfluidity) and the consensus is that you can by jet-siphon effect (grab some in a closed container and push it behind you) but with surfaces that the He=II can "get around" perhaps not. Probably I should remove this statement until I find something definitive. SBHarris 18:50, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

infinite thermal conductance.[edit]

The article mentions super-fluids as having infinite thermal conductance, but this should be seemingly impossible as it would nesecitate thermal transfer at faster than c. can someone please explain how it is possible to have infinite thermal conductance without violating the laws of physics? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.48.169.133 (talk) 21:45, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, heat conductivity is defined to be thermal diffusivity × heat capicity × density. Thermal diffusivity has the units cm2/s rather than cm/s so if you have a glass sheet with a certain temperature difference between one side and the other, then a glass sheet twice as thick with the same temperature difference will actually take 4 times as long to conduct heat from one side to the other, not twice as long. In the case of a superfluid conducting heat at the speed of light, the larger the size of the superfluid, the larger is the speed of conductance times the distance the heat is conducted so the heat conductivity approaches infinity as the size of the superfluid approaches infinity. Blackbombchu (talk) 23:21, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not buying your handwaving. The glass sheet with the constant temperature difference on one side to the other is subject to Fourier's law. At steady state (that is what we're talking about, no?) it will have a linear and constant temperature gradient across it, and if it is twice as thick it will conduct heat half has fast (per unit area). The units of diffusivity are irrelevant. Conductivity is also diffusivity times volumetric heat capacity, which is just 1/V times dQ/dT. You see immediately that the units for k come out to dQ/dt per meter per K, as advertized. Heat transfer per time is proportional to temp difference and inversely proportional to a distance, which is the area divided by the insulation thickness. SBHarris 03:54, 1 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thermal conductance has nothing to do with how fast, in terms of m/s, i.e. a speed, heat is transfered. The common heat equation is not Lorentz invariant and as such is not compatible with relativity. The speed of heat is infinite according to that equation, regardless of the value of the thermal conductance. But it doesn't matter, it's still a good approximation for describing the temperature in most systems. Lastly, thermal conductance has to do with the rate of how the temperature stabilizes throughough the material. If one heats a spot of a material, the temperature in the whole material is affected instantly once the heat has been applied. Thermal conductance gives us a measure of how quickly (in terms of time), the rest of the material will achieve a homogeneous temperature (strickly speaking it should never be reached, but we can use reasonable reasonable thresholds to consider what a homogeneous temperature distribution is.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.163.163.86 (talk) 10:46, 14 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What critical speed means[edit]

Under the heading Film Flow, by critical speed, did the article mean the speed limited by quadratic resistance? Blackbombchu (talk) 23:20, 31 July 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Superfluid helium-4. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{source check}} (last update: 18 January 2022).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 00:50, 22 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified (January 2018)[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Superfluid helium-4. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{source check}} (last update: 18 January 2022).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 23:29, 21 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]