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Weakly Ionized Plasma Actuators for Flow Control

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Orbital Research Inc
4415 Euclid Avenue Suite 500 Cleveland, OH 44103-3757
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Weakly Ionized Plasma Actuators for Flow Control
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: F33615-03-M-3327
Award Amount: $100,000.00


Orbital Research proposes to develop and demonstrate a non-intrusive Weakly Ionized Plasma Actuator array (WIPA) technology for active lift augmentation and drag reduction of air vehicles. The overall objective of the Phase I research is to demonstrate thefeasibility of the WIPA technology coupled with a digital control system for aerodynamic enhancement on a generic airfoil model through Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) and parametric wind tunnel tests. The Phase I program will build on the expertise ofthe Notre Dame group in applying plasma actuators in open-loop flow control and the Orbital Research group in implementing control algorithms for closed-loop flow control. Orbital Research will extend its advanced closed-loop control solutions developedin previous Air Force programs to demonstrate a closed-loop WIPA concept. Phase I efforts will be focus on; (1) efficient design of plasma actuators, (2) performing incompressible and compressible Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) to simulate plasmaactuator effects, (3) conducting low-speed wind tunnel tests, (4) developing a digital control system for an active WIPA technology demonstration, and (5) evaluating WIPA performance based on wind tunnel tests, DNS results, and Doppler Particle ImageVelocimetry (DPIV) results. One of the highest technological milestones of the proposed WIPA concept is to replace conventional control surfaces such as, leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps by plasma slats and plasma flaps respectively so as toprovide virtual aerodynamic shaping to air vehicles. Ultimate manifestation of the WIPA technology would be a `Plasma Wing' that is aerodynamically efficient without any moving parts. The proposed Weakly Ionized Plasma Actuator array (WIPA) technologycan be used on air vehicles to enhance the aerodynamic performance of control surfaces or to replace these control surfaces by arrays of plasma actuators so as to reduce weight and minimize drag, while providing the necessary control authority to thevehicle. Military applications include, stealthier aircraft, noise control, enhanced range due to lower weight and drag, and enhanced maneuverability of air vehicles. Other military and commercial applications include buffeting elimination, tip vortexcontrol, dynamic stall control, separation control for compressors, diffusers, and turbines, and noise control. In addition, significant fuel savings may be realized due to a reduction in weight and drag on commercial airlines and parcel carriers.

Principal Investigator:

Mehul Patel
Sr. Aerodynamicist

Business Contact:

Frederick Lisy
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

673G, Alpha Drive Cleveland, OH 44143

EIN/Tax ID: 341672688
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No