Starting flow past an airfoil and its acquired lift in a superfluid

Seth Musser, Davide Proment, Miguel Onorato, William T. M. Irvine

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We investigate superfluid flow around an airfoil accelerated to a finite velocity from rest. Using simulations of the Gross–Pitaevskii equation we find striking similarities to viscous flows: from production of starting vortices to convergence of airfoil circulation onto a quantized version of the Kutta-Joukowski circulation. We predict the number of quantized vortices nucleated by a given foil via a phenomenological argument. We further find stall-like behavior governed by airfoil speed, not angle of attack, as in classical flows. Finally we analyze the lift and drag acting on the airfoil.
Original languageEnglish
Article number154502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019


  • Physics - Fluid Dynamics
  • Condensed Matter - Quantum Gases
  • Physics - Computational Physics

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