Investigation of a pulsed-plasma jet for separation shock/boundary layer interaction control
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A pulsed-plasma jet (called a "spark-jet" by other researchers), is a high-speed synthetic jet that is generated by striking an electrical discharge in a small cavity. The gas in the cavity pressurizes owing to the heating and is allowed to escape through a small orifice. A series of experiments were conducted to determine the characteristics of the pulsed-plasma jet issuing into stagnant air at a pressure of 45 Torr. These results show that typical jet exit velocities of about 250 m/s can be induced with discharge energies of about 30 mJ per jet. Furthermore, the maximum pulsing frequency was found to be about 5 kHz, because above this frequency the jet begins to misfire. The misfiring appears to be due to the finite time it takes for the cavity to be recharged with ambient air between discharge pulses. The velocity at the exit of the jet is found to be primarily dependent on the discharge current and independent of other discharge parameters such as cavity volume and orifice diameter. Temperature measurements are made using optical emission spectroscopy and reveal the presence of considerable non-equilibrium between rotational and vibrational modes. The gas heating efficiency was found to be 10% and this parameter is shown to have a direct effect on the plasma jet velocity. These results indicate that the pulsed-plasma jet creates a sufficiently strong flow perturbation that is holds great promise as a supersonic flow actuator. An experimental study is conducted to characterize the performance of a pulsed-plasma jet for potential use in supersonic flow control applications. To obtain an estimate of the relative strength of the pulsed-plasma jet, the jet is injected normally into a Mach 3 cross-flow and the penetration distance is measured by using schlieren imaging. These measurements show that the jet penetrates 1.5 [delta], where [delta] is the boundary layer thickness, into the cross-flow and the jet-to-crossflow momentum flux ratio is estimated to be 0.6. An array of pulsed-plasma jets was issued from different locations upstream of a 30-degree compression ramp in a Mach 3 flow. Furthermore, two different jet configurations were used: normal injection and pitched and skewed injection. The pitched and skewed configuration was used to see if the jets could act as high-bandwidth pulsed vortex generators. The interaction between the jets and the separation shock was studied using phase-locked schlieren imaging. Results show that the plasma jets cause a significant disturbance to the separation shock and clearly influence its unsteadiness. While all plasma jet configurations tested caused an upstream motion of the separation shock, pitched and skewed plasma jets caused an initial downstream shock motion before the upstream motion, demonstrating the potential use of these plasma jets as vortex generator jets. The effect of the plasma jet array on the separation shock unsteadiness is studied in a time-resolved manner by using 10 kHz schlieren imaging and fast-response wall pressure measurements. An array of three pulsed-plasma jets, in a pitched and skewed configuration, is used to force the unsteady motion of the interaction formed by a 24° compression ramp in a Mach 3 flow. The Reynolds number of the incoming boundary layer is Re[theta]=3300. Results show that when the pulsed jet array is placed upstream of the interaction, the jets cause the separation shock to move in a quasi-periodic manner, i.e., nearly in sync with the pulsing cycle. As the jet fluid convects across the separation shock, the shock responds by moving upstream, which is primarily due to the presence of hot gas and hence the lower effective Mach number of the incoming flow. Once the hot gases pass through the interaction, the separation shock recovers by moving downstream, and this recovery velocity is approximately 1% to 3% of the free stream velocity. With forcing, the low-frequency energy content of the pressure fluctuations at a given location under the intermittent region decreases significantly. This is believed to be a result of an increase in the mean scale of the interaction under forced conditions. Pulsed-jet injection are also employed within the separation bubble, but negligible changes to the separation shock motion were observed. These results indicate that influencing the dynamics of this compression ramp interaction is much more effective by placing the actuator in the upstream boundary layer.