Mechanisms for turbulent separation control using plasma actuator at Reynolds number of 1.6 × 106

Makoto Sato, Kengo Asada, Taku Nonomura, Hikaru Aono, Aiko Yakeno, Kozo Fujii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We have conducted large-eddy simulations of turbulent separated flows over a NACA0015 airfoil with control by a plasma actuator. The Reynolds number based on the chord length is 1 600 000, and the angle of attack is 20.1°. At this angle of attack, the flow around the airfoil is fully separated. The effects of the location and operating conditions of the plasma actuator on the separation control are investigated. The plasma actuator is set at the leading edge, the turbulent reattachment point, or near the turbulent separation point. The nondimensional burst frequency (F+) is set to 1, 4, or 100. These frequencies are determined based on the dominant frequencies of the turbulent separated flow field of the no control case. A continuous actuation case has also been conducted. The location of the actuator where it most effectively suppresses the separation is the one closest to the turbulent separation point. In the burst mode case, the nondimensional burst frequency of unity is most effective in terms of the increase in the lift. To clarify the effective control mechanism, five objectives for turbulent separation control are compared. The results show that it is difficult to suppress the turbulent separation using the same strategies as in laminar separation control. The effective mechanism for turbulent separation control by burst actuation is found to be inducing the pairing of large-scale vortices near the airfoil surface. This large-scale vortex pairing induces freestream momentum into the boundary layer, leading to separation suppression. In addition, three other control effects can be achieved by varying the operating settings of the plasma actuator. The drag is slightly improved by reducing the length of the laminar separation bubble through high-frequency actuation from the leading edge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095107
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sept 1


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