With Plasma Actuators That Require No Moving Parts
|AFRL is laying the groundwork to develop revolutionary hypersonic
aerospace vehicles. Researchers are examining the feasibility of replacing
traditional mechanical actuators, which move like wing flaps to control
an air vehicle’s flight control surfaces, with plasma actuators that require
no moving parts and are more reliable.
As part of the Boundary Layers and Hypersonics program, AFRL conducted a wind tunnel test to evaluate the feasibility of using plasma actuators for airframe flight control. In AFRL’s Mach 5 Plasma Channel wind tunnel, engineers used a strong electric field to ionize air around an air vehicle model to create plasma. The plasma-heated air successfully exerted force on the model and demonstrated that the plasma actuator concept is a viable area for further study and development. The program focuses on characterizing, predicting, and controlling high-speed fluid dynamic phenomena, including boundary layer transition; shock/boundary layer and shock/shock interactions; and other airframe propulsion integration phenomena such as real-gas effects, plasma aerodynamics, magneto-hydrodynamics, and high-speed flow heat transfer. (Mr. R. Kimmel, AFRL/VAAA, (937) 656-7868)
This Information is public and may be distributed freely.
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