The aerodynamic community has studied active flow control actuators for some time, and developments have led to a wide variety of devices with various features and operating mechanisms. The design requirements for a practical actuator used for active flow control include reliable operation, requisite frequency and amplitude modulation capabilities, and a reasonable lifespan while maintaining minimal cost and design complexity. An active flow control device called the SparkJet actuator has been developed for high-speed flight control and incorporates no mechanical/moving parts, zero net mass flux capabilities and the ability to tune the operating frequency and momentum throughput. This actuator utilizes electrical power to deliver high-momentum flow with a very fast response time. The SparkJet actuator was characterized on the benchtop using a laser-based microschlieren visualization technique and maximum blast wave and jet front velocities of ~400 and ~310 m/s were, respectively, measured in the flowfield. An increase in jet front velocity from 240 to 310 m/s during subatmospheric (60 kPa) testing reveals that the actuator may have greater control authority at lower ambient pressures, which correspond to high-altitude flight conditions for air vehicles. A SparkJet array was integrated into a flat plate and tested in a Mach 1.5 crossflow. Phase-conditioned shadowgraph results revealed a maximum flow deflection angle of 5° created by the SparkJet 275 µs after the actuator was triggered in single-shot mode. Burst mode operation of frequencies up to 700 Hz revealed similar results during wind tunnel testing. Following these tests, the actuator trigger mechanism was improved and the ability of the actuator to be discharged in burst mode at a frequency of 1 kHz was achieved.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 19, 2014
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