Helicity within the vortex filament model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Risto Hänninen
  • Niklas Hietala
  • Hayder Salman

Research units

  • University of East Anglia


Kinetic helicity is one of the invariants of the Euler equations that is associated with the topology of vortex lines within the fluid. In superfluids, the vorticity is concentrated along vortex filaments. In this setting, helicity would be expected to acquire its simplest form. However, the lack of a core structure for vortex filaments appears to result in a helicity that does not retain its key attribute as a quadratic invariant. By defining a spanwise vector to the vortex through the use of a Seifert framing, we are able to introduce twist and henceforth recover the key properties of helicity. We present several examples for calculating internal twist to illustrate why the centreline helicity alone will lead to ambiguous results if a twist contribution is not introduced. Our choice of the spanwise vector can be expressed in terms of the tangential component of velocity along the filament. Since the tangential velocity does not alter the configuration of the vortex at later times, we are able to recover a similar equation for the internal twist angle to that of classical vortex tubes. Our results allow us to explain how a quasi-classical limit of helicity emerges from helicity considerations for individual superfluid vortex filaments.


Original languageEnglish
Article number37571
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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