Thrust Measurement of Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasma Actuators and Power Requirements for Aerodynamic Control


Plasma-based aerodynamic actuators can modify a flow field without the need for moving control surfaces or a source of pressurized air. Actuator power consumption and thrust production were measured for driving frequencies between 1 and 18 kHz, and for driving voltages of 6 and 9 kV peak to peak. The actuator consumed between 3 and 22 W, and produced thrust levels between 0.05 and 0.2 mN per meter span. A comparison of results showed good agreement between this work and previous authors' results. The actuator effectiveness (thrust produced per watt of power input) was found to range between 0.017 and 0.11 mN/W. The continuous power consumption of a DBD actuator-based control system was then estimated by modeling the actuators as jet flaps. The elevator jet flap strength required to trim a small aircraft in flight was determined. A 0.5 kg aircraft with 0.76 m2 wing area required between 0.47 and 2.22 kW of power for trim. A 3 kg aircraft with 1.27 m2 wing area required between 13.6 and 54.6 kW of power for trim. In the most challenging circumstances, flight at stall or max velocity, current battery capacities would allow these aircraft to maintain trimmed flight for only 73 seconds.

Meeting Name

AIAA 5th Flow Control Conference (2016: Jun. 28-Jul. 1, Chicago, IL)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Aerodynamic Actuators; Aerodynamic Control; Battery Capacity; Dielectric Barrier Discharge Plasmas; Driving Frequencies; Driving Voltages; Peak-To-Peak; Power Consumption; Power Input; Power Requirements; Pressurized Air; Small Aircraft; Thrust Levels; Thrust Measurement; Trimmed Flight; Wing Area

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2010

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