Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Physics


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

William F. Bailey, PhD


Recent progress in the generation and sustainment of gas discharges at atmospheric pressure has energized research in the field of plasma-aerodynamics. Plasma actuators are promising devices that achieve flow control with no moving parts, do not alter the airfoil shape and place no parts in the flow. The operation of a plasma actuator is examined using a macroscopic (force and power addition) computational fluid dynamic model of a dielectric barrier discharge, DBD, in Fluent. A parametric approach is adopted to survey the range of requisite magnitudes of momentum and energy delivered to the flow field and to identify the effects of this localized momentum and energy addition on the flow characteristics. Simulations consider the initiation and control of flow over a flat plate in a low velocity fluid. The simulation velocity profiles are compared with the experimental observations of Corke (AIAA 2002-0350) as well as simulations of Font (AIAA 2004-3574), Boeuf and Pitchford (JAP 97 103307 2005), and Roy and Gaitonde (AIAA 2005-4631). The simulation is extended from a flat plate simulation to examine the flow modification over an airfoil. Flow characteristics of lift and drag are compared with experimental results of Post and Corke (AIAA 2003-1024) and the compatible energy/momentum addition is identified. Energy and momentum values are then compared and related to characteristic values arising in DBD operation.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number