Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Samir Moujaes

Second Committee Member

Yi-Tung Chen

Third Committee Member

Darrell Pepper

Fourth Committee Member

Ke-Xun Sun

Number of Pages



This research addressed the amount of electric power required to induce specific changes in lift force using a NACA 2127 airfoil with a chord length of ~28 mm, connected to a micro load cell, in a wind tunnel of 103 square centimeter cross-section. A DBD plasma actuator supplied by a ZVS driven high voltage pulsed DC circuit, operating at a frequency of 17.4 kHz, was utilized for voltages of up to 5000 V. Two configurations of electrode gapping were compared to determine the efficient use of power. The configuration with a gap of ~1 mm between the upstream and downstream electrodes, generated an analogous lift force with half the power supplied as the configuration which used a ~5 mm gap in its design. In still air, the plasma actuator was generating a lift force of ~0.3 micro-Newton for every kilovolt added. Three chord Reynolds numbers (~10350, ~4600, ~3450) were implemented, in combination with a wide range of angles to demonstrate the effects of varying conditions on the efficiency of the plasma actuator. Changing the angle of attack did not affect the performance of the plasma actuator, while the Reynolds number appeared to have adverse effect on the efficiency of the actuator, in which the lift coefficient curve showed greater response for lower Reynolds numbers and vice versa. For a full separation flow condition at ~30 degrees and Re of ~3450, the streamlines reattached back to ~55% of the chord length, when a voltage of 2.68 kV was applied. Increasing the voltage to 4.34 kV fully reattached the flow. After examining two parallel curves of improvement in the lift coefficient (i.e., one due to plasma actuation and the second due to the traditional mechanical actuation), it was determined for an initial state of flow (i.e., Re~10350, AOA~17 degrees) where the plasma actuator was first turned off, 186.8 volts of electricity would be required to match the efficiency gained with one degree of actuation for up to 5 degrees (i.e.17-22degrees).


Aerodynamics; Aerospace; Dielectric Barrier Discharge; Drag; Lift Force; Plasma


Aerospace Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Plasma and Beam Physics

File Format


File Size

2900 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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