On-board generated plasma for supersonic flow study

Daniel Bivolaru, Spencer P. Kuo

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


A method of supersonic flow investigation that uses plasma glow and afterglow visualization is analyzed experimentally. Plasma is generated on-board by pulsed electrical discharges between a truncated cone-cylinder model and an isolated physical spike protruding axially through the frontal side of the body. The model is placed in non-ionized Mach 2.5 airflow. Important plasma induced effects on the flow aerodynamics around the model, including changes and transformations on shock waves, boundary layer, and expansion waves were observed. In the main discharge region, plasma glow distribution did not show the shock wave pattern, rather a conical shape of smaller angle around the cathode-spike, most probably a conical streamline in that region. The thickness of the afterglow boundary layer on the one surface was found larger than that of an unperturbed viscous thermal boundary layer of a similar cone, but decreasing along the surface toward the end of the body. At the cone-cylinder interface in the expansion fan region, plasma afterglow flow did not change noticeably the forward Mach waves angle, but caused in some instances visible changes in the rearward Mach waves. In one case, it was observed that the plasma afterglow could flow simultaneously along two paths, the rearward expansion fan Mach lines and the cylinder boundary layer. Finely, the radial afterglow intensity profile of the boundary layer was calculated at one location by an Abel integral technique. Although, these observations strongly suggest that this diagnostic technique may not be non-perturbative, the technique can be used as flow investigation method, but it cannot provide all the features of the flow field in a single measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2004
Event42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 5 2004Jan 8 2004


Other42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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