• Craig Hale

Student thesis: Phd


Plasma actuators are electrical devices that generate a wall bounded jet without the use of any moving parts. For aerodynamic applications they can be used as flow control devices to delay separation and augment lift on a wing. The aim of this project is to initially develop a system capable of generating and sustaining a plasma that generates a wall bounded jet. The next step is to investigate the effect of varying the number and distribution of encapsulated electrodes in the dielectric layer. Finally the best case design is applied at the leading edge and flap shoulder of a NACA0015 aerofoil with a 20% flap. Utilising a transformer cascade, plasma has been generated for a variety of input voltages. In the quiescent environment of a Faraday cage the velocity flow field is recorded using particle image velocimetry (PIV). Through understanding of the mechanisms involved in producing the wall jet and the importance of the encapsulated electrode a novel actuator design was investigated. The actuator design distributes the encapsulated electrode throughout the dielectric layer. The experiments have shown that actuators with shallow initial encapsulated electrodes induce velocities greater than the baseline case at the same voltage. Actuators with a deep initial electrode are able to induce the highest velocities as they can operate at higher voltages without breakdown of the dielectric. The best actuator case is applied to the aerofoil for Reynolds numbers of 1:97x10^5, 2:63x10^5 and 3:29x10^5. The lift and drag are recorded using pressure measurements around the aerofoil surface and across the aerofoil's wake. PIV is utilised to visualise the flow field. The trailing edge actuator produces a step increase in lift for pre-stall angles of attack and delays stall by 1^o at Re = 1:97x10^5. The leading edge actuator has limited impact on the flow for the no flap deflection case due to the actuator location. As the flap deflection increases the leading edge actuator is able to influence the flow. Repositioning of the leading edge actuator has the ability to reattach the flow around the fore portion of the aerofoil at a post stall angle of alpha = 18^o.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKonstantinos Kontis (Supervisor)


  • Plasma Actuators
  • Flow Control
  • Dielectric Barrier Discharge

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