Spatiotemporal structure of a millimetric annular dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator Academic Article uri icon


  • The spatiotemporal structure of a millimetric annular dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator is investigated using a photomultiplier tube, a high-sensitivity camera, particle image velocimetry, and electrohydrodynamics simulations. Plasma actuators have typically demonstrated their utility in flow separation control, but on a millimetric scale they have also shown to be promising in the control of crossflow instabilities in crossflow-dominated laminar-turbulent boundary-layer transition. In view of the subtleties associated with creating an initial disturbance to excite subcritical wavelengths, it is desirable to characterize the local plasma discharge structure, body force organization, and induced velocity field in detail. The results show that, similar to their linear centimetric counterpart, the plasma discharge has a highly dynamic and somewhat organized spatiotemporal structure. Under quiescent flow conditions, the actuator induces a velocity field that consists of two counter-rotating vortices, accompanied by a wall-normal synthetic jet region, which in three-dimensions describes a toroidal vortex around the aperture's periphery. The surprising result, however, is that these vortices rotate in the opposite direction to vortices generated by similar centimetric annular designs. Three-dimensional electrohydrodynamics simulations correctly reproduce this behavior. Because the body force organization may be qualitatively perceived as being the axisymmetric counterpart of the more classical linear actuator, this flow reversal is thought to be due to the actuator scale. When an array of millimetric actuators is considered in close proximity, an interaction takes place between the vortices created from each actuator and those of neighboring actuators, resulting in a significant reduction in vortex size compared with the single aperture case, accompanied by an increase in the maximum induced flow velocity magnitude.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Humble, R. A., Craig, S. A., Vadyak, J., McClure, P. D., Hofferth, J. W., & Saric, W. S.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Humble, RA||Craig, SA||Vadyak, J||McClure, PD||Hofferth, JW||Saric, WS

publication date

  • January 2013