Investigation and Simulation of Ion Flow Control over a Flat Plate and Compressor Cascade

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Virginia Tech

An investigation of ion flow control was performed to determine the effect of a positive, DC corona discharge on the boundary layer profile along a flat plate and to examine its ability to prevent separated flow in a low-speed compressor cascade. Flat plate tests were performed for two electrode configurations at free-stream velocity magnitudes of 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 m/s. Boundary layer velocity profile data was taken to measure the performance of the electrode pairs. Ion flow control was also tested in the compressor cascade for a stagger angle of 25° at angles of attack equal to 6° and 12°. The cascade tests were performed at free-stream velocities of 5 and 10 m/s. Static tap data was used to characterize separated flow behavior and the effect of ion flow control on flow reattachment. A computational model was developed using the commercial CFD software Fluent. This model simulates ion flow control as a body force applied to the flow through user-defined functions.

The study showed that the corona discharge has the ability to increase near-wall velocities and reduce the thickness of the boundary layer for flow over a flat plate. Ion flow control successfully prevented trailing edge separation in a compressor cascade for angles of attack of 6° and 12°; however, the flow control scheme was not able to prevent leading edge separation for angle of attack equal to 12°. The ion flow control CFD model accurately predicted flow behavior for both the flat plate and cascade experiments. The numerical model was able to simulate the boundary layer velocity profiles for flat plate tests with good accuracy, and was also able to predict the flow behavior over a compressor blade. The model was able to show the trends of separated and reattached flow over the blade surface.

active flow control, plasma, corona discharge, separation, compressor cascade, boundary layer transition