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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2011 Apr 13;369(1940):1459-75. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0356.

Sensing and control of flow separation using plasma actuators.

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University of Notre Dame, Institute for Flow Physics and Control, Hessert Laboratory for Aerospace Research, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


Single dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuators have been used to control flow separation in a large number of applications. An often used configuration involves spanwise-oriented asymmetric electrodes that are arranged to induce a tangential wall jet in the mean flow direction. For the best effect, the plasma actuator is placed just upstream of where the flow separation will occur. This approach is generally more effective when the plasma actuator is periodically pulsed at a frequency that scales with the streamwise length of the separation zone and the free-stream velocity. The optimum frequency produces two coherent spanwise vortices within the separation zone. It has been recently shown that this periodic pulsing of the plasma actuator could be sensed by a surface pressure sensor only when the boundary layer was about to separate, and therefore could provide a flow separation indicator that could be used for feedback control. The paper demonstrates this approach on an aerofoil that is slowly increasing its angle of attack, and on a sinusoidally pitching aerofoil undergoing dynamic stall. Short-time spectral analysis of time series from a static pressure sensor on the aerofoil is used to determine the separation state that ranges from attached, to imminent separation, to fully separated. A feedback control approach is then proposed, and demonstrated on the aerofoil with the slow angle of attack motion.

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