Review Article

Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 1-26

First online:

Single dielectric barrier discharge plasma enhanced aerodynamics: physics, modeling and applications

  • Thomas C. CorkeAffiliated withAerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department, Center for Flow Physics and Control, University of Notre Dame Email author 
  • , Martiqua L. PostAffiliated withUS Air Force Academy
  • , Dmitriy M. OrlovAffiliated withUS Air Force Academy

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The term “plasma actuator” has been a part of the fluid dynamics flow control vernacular for more than a decade. A particular type of plasma actuator that has gained wide use is based on a single dielectric barrier discharge (SDBD) mechanism that has desirable features for use in air at atmospheric pressures. For these actuators, the mechanism of flow control is through a generated body force vector that couples with the momentum in the external flow. The body force can be derived from first principles and the plasma actuator effect can be easily incorporated into flow solvers so that their placement and operation can be optimized. They have been used in a wide range of applications that include bluff body wake control; lift augmentation and separation control on a variety of lifting surfaces ranging from fixed wings with various degrees of sweep, wind turbine rotors and pitching airfoils simulating helicopter rotors; flow separation and tip-casing clearance flow control to reduce losses in turbines, to control flow surge and stall in compressors; and in exciting instabilities in boundary layers at subsonic to supersonic Mach numbers for turbulent transition control. New applications continue to appear through programs in a growing number of US universities and government laboratories, as well as in Germany, France, England, Netherland, Russia, Japan and China. This paper provides an overview of the physics, design and modeling of SDBD plasma actuators. It then presents their use in a number of applications that includes both numerical flow simulations and experiments together.