Masters Theses


"The primary objective of the study presented in this thesis was to analyze the effectiveness of aerodynamic plasma actuators as a means of active flow control over a low speed airfoil at multiple angles of attack each corresponding to two different flow separation mechanisms (i.e., laminar separation bubble and turbulent flow separation at stall conditions). Detailed parametric studies based on steady and unsteady Navier-Stokes simulations, modified to include the body force term created by the plasma actuator, were performed for a NACA 0012 airfoil at a chord Reynolds number of 10⁵. In particular, parametric studies were performed to investigate the influence of the number, the location, the imposed body force magnitude (power input) and steady vs. unsteady operation of plasma actuators on the flow control effectiveness. First, the effectiveness of plasma actuators was studied when applied to the airfoil at a relatively low angle of attack, which involved the development of a laminar separation bubble (LSB). Next, the effectiveness of plasma actuators was analyzed at a high angle of attack where the stall of the airfoil occurs with a fully turbulent flow assumption. The results show that plasma actuators can provide significant improvement in aerodynamic performance for the flow conditions considered in this study. For LSB control, as much as a 50% improvement in the lift to drag ratio was observed. Results also show that the same improvement can be achieved using an unsteady or multiple actuators, which can require as much as 75% less power compared to a single, steady actuator. For the stalled airfoil case, as much as a 700% improvement in L/D was observed from a single, steady actuator. Note that this was achieved using a power input eight times higher than what was used for LSB control. Also, unsteady and multiple actuator configurations do not provide the same enhancement as the single, steady actuators. This was found to be due to the nature of the turbulent separation (trailing edge separation) at the stall condition that occurs for the selected airfoil and Reynolds number"--Abstract, page iii.


Hosder, Serhat

Committee Member(s)

Rovey, Joshua L.
Finaish, Fathi


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Missouri Space Grant Consortium


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Summer 2012


x, 71 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-50).


© 2012 Thomas Kelsey West IV, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Computational fluid dynamics
Plasma jets

Thesis Number

T 10077

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