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NON-THERMAL ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE PLASMAS FOR AERONAUTIC APPLICATIONS Richard B. Miles, Dmitry Opaits , Mikhail N. Shneider , Sohail H. Zaidi - Princeton Sergey macheret – Lockheed Alexander Likhanskii – Penn State U. HAKONE XI Oleron Island September 7-12, 2008 Outline

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hakone xi oleron island september 7 12 2008

NON-THERMAL ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE PLASMAS FOR AERONAUTIC APPLICATIONSRichard B. Miles,Dmitry Opaits, Mikhail N. Shneider, SohailH. Zaidi- PrincetonSergey macheret – LockheedAlexander Likhanskii – Penn State U.


Oleron Island

September 7-12, 2008

  • Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) Configuration
  • Performance with Sinusoidal Driver
  • Modeling of Pulse Sustained DC Driven
  • Experimental Set up
  • Visualization technique
  • Surface Charge Effects
  • Surface Charge measurement
  • Bias Switching Experiments
  • Schlieren Movies and results
  • Thrust Stand Tests
  • New Electrode Configuration
  • Conclusions
limitations of sinusoidal driven dbd control
Limitations of Sinusoidal Driven DBD Control
  • Breakdown occurs randomly during each cycle
  • There is a significant backward component of the thrust during the cycle
  • Thrust is not generated equally in the positive and negative portion of the cycle
  • The duty cycle is low – part of the time no thrust is being generated
pulse sustained dc driven dbd concept
Pulse Sustained, DC Driven DBD Concept

Dielectric material:

kapton tape

thickness 100 μm


copper foil

width 25 mm

spanwise dim. 50 mm

The circuit is designed so as to superimpose short pulses on a low frequency bias voltage without interference between the pulser and the low-frequency power supply. The pulses and the bias voltage are controlled independently


Main differences between pulses

with arbitrary bias and sine voltage

Sine Voltage

Pulses with Bias

Two functions simultaneously:

Plasma generation and

body force on the gas

Pulses efficiently

generate plasma

Bias produces

the body force

on the gas

The parameters of pulse-bias configuration –

peak pulse voltage, pulse repetition rate, pulse burst rate, duty cycle,

and both the frequency and amplitude of the time-depended bias voltage –

can be varied independently,

greatly increasing flexibility of control and

optimization of the DBD actuator


Terminology used in the paper for the pulse and bias voltage polarities. The encapsulated electrode is always considered to be at zero potential. The sign of potential of the exposed electrode relative to the encapsulated one determines the pulse and bias polarity.

predicted momentum transfer with 4 nsec pulses
Predicted Momentum Transfer with 4 nsec pulses

Blue and green lines correspond to the negative pulses with amplitudes -4.5 and -1.5 kV with positive bias of 0.5 kV, and the pink line corresponds to the positive pulses with 3 kV amplitude and positive bias of 1 kV. FWHM for all pulses is 4 ns.

schlieren technique for the dbd plasma actuator induced flow
Schlieren techniquefor the DBD plasma actuator induced flow

0.5 m/sec at 17 mm

7 m/sec in the plasma region!


Schlieren technique, burst mode of plasma actuator operation, and 2-D fluid numerical model coupled together allow to restore the entire two-dimensional unsteady plasma induced flow pattern as well as the characteristics of the plasma induced force.

results dc bias experiments
ResultsDC Bias experiments


50 kHz - 20 μs between pulses

500 pulses per burst - 10 ms per burst

1000 pulses per period - 50 bursts per second

5kV pulse voltage

-2 kV.. +2 kV DC bias voltage

results surface charge experiments positive pulses
ResultsSurface charge experiments Positive pulses

0 kV Bias Voltage

+2 kV Bias Voltage

10 s

10 s

20 s

20 s

60 s

60 s



0 kV → +2 kV

First run

results bias switch experiments
ResultsBias switch experiments

Switching the polarity of the bias voltage has a dramatic effect on the DBD operation: much faster jets and vortices are generated compared with the constant-bias cases

Reason - accumulation of surface charge on the dielectric

charge build up along surface with sinusoidal applied voltage 3khz 10kv peak to peak
Charge Build-up Along Surfacewith Sinusoidal Applied Voltage 3kHz, 10kV peak-to-peak.
  • Non-contacting Trek Model 247-3 Electrostatic Voltmeter with Trek Model 6000B-13C Electrostatic Voltmeter Probe.
  • Fast response time (less then 3 ms for a 1kV step)
  • Operating range from 0 to +/- 3 kV DC or peak AC.
  • Spatial resolution of ~1 mm.

Single Sided Versus Double

Positive pulses

Although some of the pulse bursts do not create a strong wall jet, they still play an important role in the DBD operation. Their task is to discharge/recharge the dielectric surface and thus to increase the efficiency of the other bursts.


Single Sided Versus Double

Negative pulses

In the absence of the pulse burst during the other half-cycle, the induced wall jet speed becomes 2-3 times lower. The wall jets induced by negative pulses evolve into two-vortex formations whereas the ones from the positive pulses do not.


ResultsSinusoidal bias experiments


50 kHz - 20 μs between pulses

208 pulses per burst - 4.16 ms per burst

416 pulses per period - 120 bursts per second

5kV peak voltage

Totally different from conventional sinusoidal profile!!


60 Hz sinusoidal

2.6 kV peak-to-peak voltage

Thrust Dependence with Positive PulsesCommon point: 10kV peak to peak square wave bias, 100Hz, 3kV pulses at 25kHz
Thrust Dependence with Negative PulsesCommon point: 10kV peak to peak square wave bias, 100Hz, 3kV pulses at 25kHz
thrust scaling with new design
Thrust Scaling with New Design

4 kV positive bias voltage, 3 kV negative pulses

410 kHz PRR, 3 kV negative pulses

  • Offset dielectric barrier discharges can generate strong surface jets for aerodynamic control
  • Using AC to drive the offset DBD is not optimal
    • Reverse thrust component
    • Low duty cycle
    • Uncontrolled plasma formation
  • A new voltage waveform, consisting of high-voltage nanosecond repetitive pulses superimposed on a DC voltage was proposed
  • The experiments showed that the charge build-up on the dielectric surface shields both the applied DC and AC electric field
  • Charge build up was overcome with high voltage pulse sustained plasma and
    • A high-voltage low-frequency sinusoidal or square wave bias voltage
    • A partially covered electrode configuration operating with a DC bias
  • Bias voltage is the most important parameter for thrust generation