Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

William F. Bailey, PhD


Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) type devices, when used as plasma actuators, have shown significant promise for use in many aeronautical applications. Experimentally, DBD actuator devices have been shown to induce motion in initially still air, and to cause re-attachment of air flow over a wing surface at a high angle of attack. This thesis explores the numerical simulation of the DBD device in both a lD and 2D environment. Using well established fluid equation techniques, along with the appropriate approximations for the regime under which these devices will be operating, computational results for various conditions and geometries are explored. In order to validate the code, results are compared to analytic or experimental data whenever possible, or matched with other similar numeric simulations to help establish the accuracy of the code. Solutions to Poisson's equation for the potential, electron and ion continuity equations, and the electron energy equation are solved semi-implicitly in a sequential manner. Each of the governing equations is solved by casting them into a tridiagonal grid, and using the computationally efficient Thomas algorithm to solve lD regions in a single iteration. The Scharfetter-Gummel flux discretization method is used to add stability to the code when transitioning from a field to diffusion dominated region or vice versa. Estimates for the ionization and recombination rates and for the transport coefficients of the background gas are calculated as a function of the local average electron energy, and updated for every calculation point in the domain on the completion of the solution to the electron energy equation.

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DTIC Accession Number