Anomalous heat transport and condensation in convection of cryogenic helium

Pavel Urban, David Schmoranzer, Pavel Hanzelka, Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, Ladislav Skrbek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When a hot body A is thermally connected to a cold body B, the textbook knowledge is that heat flows from A to B. Here, we describe the opposite case in which heat flows from a colder but constantly heated body B to a hotter but constantly cooled body A through a two-phase liquid-vapor system. Specifically, we provide experimental evidence that heat flows through liquid and vapor phases of cryogenic helium from the constantly heated, but cooler, bottom plate of a Rayleigh-Bénard convection cell to its hotter, but constantly cooled, top plate. The bottom plate is heated uniformly, and the top plate is cooled by heat exchange with liquid helium maintained at 4.2 K. Additionally, for certain experimental conditions, a rain of helium droplets is detected by small sensors placed in the cell at about one-half of its height.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8036-8039
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 14 2013


  • Condensation
  • Rain formation
  • Temperature inversion
  • Two-phase convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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