Active flow separation control using dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuators oriented in the spanwise direction has been successfully investigated by the authors using an integrated numerical simulation tool that couples the unsteady Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) or large eddy simulation (LES) solver for incompressible flows with the DBD electro-hydrodynamic (EHD) body force model. Although many experimental and numerical investigations have indicated that the spanwise-oriented DBD plasma actuator is an effective flow control method, the application is difficult to extend from model-scale to full-scale problems, partly due to the required high amplitude and high bandwidth excitation. Also, the flow control mechanism associated with a spanwise-oriented DBD actuator is mainly direct momentum injection, therefore, the effectiveness of actuation is sensitive to the location of the DBD actuator relative to the location of flow separation. On the other hand, a few experimental studies have shown promising results using the DBD Vortex Generator (DBD-VG) consisting of multiple plasma DBD actuators oriented in the streamwise direction. By generating streamwise vortices extending a long distance downstream, the DBD-VGs enhance the mixing of the inner and outer layers of turbulent boundary layer flows. As a result, the boundary layer can better withstand an adverse pressure gradient. When applied to flow separation control, the effectiveness of the DBD-VGs should be less sensitive to location of flow separation.

The present work extends the capability of the integrated numerical simulation tool from a single spanwise-oriented DBD plasma actuator to multiple DBD plasma actuators oriented in any direction, including the streamwise direction. As a demonstration of the new capability in the DBD-URANS coupled solver, numerical simulations of flow induced by a DBD-VG actuator with an array of exposed electrodes in a quiescent environment, as well as in a turbulent boundary layer over a flat plate, are carried out. The numerical simulation successfully reproduced the longitudinal vortices embedded in the boundary layer.

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