Plasma Actuators for Bluff Body Flow Control

Doctoral Dissertation


The aerodynamic plasma actuators have shown to be efficient flow control devices in various applications. In this study the results of flow control experiments utilizing single dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuators to control flow separation and unsteady vortex shedding from a circular cylinder in cross-flow are reported. This work is motivated by the need to reduce landing gear noise for commercial transport aircraft via an effective streamlining created by the actuators. The experiments are performed at ReD = 20,000Ì¢âÂå_164,000. Circular cylinders in cross-flow are chosen for study since they represent a generic flow geometry that is similar in all essential aspects to a landing gear oleo or strut. The minimization of the unsteady flow separation from the models and associated large-scale wake vorticity by using actuators reduces the radiated aerodynamic noise. Using either steady or unsteady actuation at ReD = 25,000, Karman shedding is totally eliminated, turbulence levels in the wake decrease significantly and near-field sound pressure levels are reduced by 13.3 dB. Unsteady actuation at an excitation frequency of StD = 1 is found to be most effective. The unsteady actuation also has the advantage that total suppression of shedding is achieved for a duty cycle of only 25%. However, since unsteady actuation is associated with an unsteady body force and produces a tone at the actuation frequency, steady actuation is more suitable for noise control applications.

Two actuation strategies are used at ReD = 82,000: spanwise and streamwise oriented actuators. Near field microphone measurements in an anechoic wind tunnel and detailed study of the near wake using LDA are presented in the study. Both spanwise and streamwise actuators give nearly the same noise reduction level of 11.2 dB and 14.2 dB, respectively, and similar changes in the wake velocity profiles. The contribution of the actuator induced noise is found to be small compared to the natural shedding noise.

A tandem cylinder configuration with the plasma actuation on the upstream cylinder is investigated using surface dynamic pressure sensors. As a result of the plasma actuation, the surface pressure fluctuations on the downstream cylinder are reduced by about two times at the free-stream velocity of 40 m/s (ReD = 164,000).

In addition, this study presents the results of a parametric experimental investigation aimed at optimizing the body force produced by single dielectric barrier discharge (SDBD) plasma actuators used for aerodynamic flow control. A primary goal of the study is the improvement of actuator authority for flow control applications at higher Reynolds number than previously possible. The study examines the effects of dielectric material and thickness, applied voltage amplitude and frequency, voltage waveform, exposed electrode geometry, covered electrode width and multiple actuator arrays. The metric used to evaluate the performance of the actuator in each case is the measured actuator-induced thrust which is proportional to the total body force. It is demonstrated that actuators constructed with thick dielectric material of low dielectric constant and operated at low frequency AC voltage produce a body force that is an order of magnitude larger than that obtained by the Kapton-based actuators used in many previous plasma flow control studies. These actuators allow operation at much higher applied voltages without the formation of discrete streamers which lead to body force saturation.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07232010-105634

Author Alexey Vitalyevich Kozlov
Advisor Flint O. Thomas
Contributor Robert C. Nelson, Committee Member
Contributor Flint O. Thomas, Committee Chair
Contributor Meng Wang, Committee Member
Contributor Thomas C. Corke, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Degree Name Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Defense Date
  • 2010-07-15

Submission Date 2010-07-23
  • United States of America

  • subcritical flow

  • plasma actuator

  • cylinder in a crossflow

  • tandem cylinder

  • subsonic flow

  • flow control

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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