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Title: Effects of pulsation frequency on trailing edge plasma actuators for flight control
Author: Hamlin, Frederick William
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 3765
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis details the aerodynamic testing of a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuator operating over a separation step created at the trailing edge of a modified NACA 0012 aerofoil. The work focuses specifically on the use of pulsed or interrupted plasma actuation as opposed to continuously driven actuation, to increase the change in the lift produced by activating the system. The behaviour of the actuation system is characterised in a lamina flow regime at a Reynolds number of 1.33 x 105 using force balance measurements. At zero incidence the actuator produced a peak change in CL of approximately 0.015. However, this result is sensitive to changes in the interruption frequency of the plasma, by changing the plasma drive waveform the system was able to produce both positive and negative changes in lift. A relationship was identified between the change in CL produced and the ratio of the plasma interruption frequency to the natural vortex shedding frequency. This effect was investigated using both time averaged particle image velocimetry (PIV) and instantaneous phase locked PIV images captured in sequence throughout the plasma interruption cycle. The phase locked images showed how variation in the pulsation frequency was able to produce bi-directional actuation by either constructively or destructively interfering with the vortex formation from the back of the separation step. This interference in turn altered the level of separation which was occurring, altering the degree of upwash in the wake and therefore the lift generated by the aerofoil. PIV images were also gathered for device operation at a Reynolds number of 2.3 x 104; this produced a much higher ratio of DBD jet energy to that of the freestream. These conditions showed modified actuator behaviour due to the increased authority over the flow. However, the data still showed a strong interdependence on the reinforcement or destruction of the vortex street by the actuator interruption. Furthermore, work was undertaken to develop an actuator topology based on thin metallised films along with a dielectric which was hardened against the chemical and electrical stresses present in a functioning DBD device. The failure mechanisms of metallised film actuators were investigated, and actuators with lifetimes exceeding 8 hours were demonstrated. A manufacture method for a silicon polymer (PDMS) – Kapton® laminate is detailed; this is shown to be highly resistant to both electrical breakdown and chemical attack by the oxygen plasma.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available