Despite its popularity in the recent literature, plasma actuators lack a consistent study to identify limitations, and remedy thereof, of various thrust measurement techniques. This paper focuses on comparing two different experimental techniques commonly used to measure the global, plasma-induced thrust. A force balance is used to make a direct measurement of the thrust produced, which is then compared with a control volume analysis on data obtained through particle image velocimetry. The local velocity measured by particle image velocimetry is also validated with a fine-tip pressure probe. For the direct thrust measurements, the effect of varying the actuator plate length upon which the induced flow acts is investigated. The results from these tests show that the length of the actuator plate is most influential at higher voltages with the measured thrust increasing as much as 20 % for a six times reduction in the length of the plate. For the indirect thrust measurement, the influence of the control volume size is analyzed. When the two methods are compared against each other, good agreement is found when the control volume size has a sufficient downstream extent. Also, the discharge length is optically measured using visible light emission. A linear correlation is found between the discharge length and the thrust measurements for the actuator configurations studied. Finally, the energy conversion efficiency curve for a representative actuator is also presented.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 18, 2012
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