Nearfield Analysis of Low Speed Flow over a Dielectric Barrier Discharge Device for Enhancement of Small UAV Aerodynamics 2018-01-1953
As unmanned aerial vehicle applications continue their rise in popularity in the public and private sectors, there is an increasing demand in many cases for smaller, more efficient low speed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Although the primary drivers for the continued performance improvement of smaller UAV platforms tend to be in the areas of electronics miniaturization and improved energy storage, aerodynamics, particularly in the low Reynolds number regime, still have a significant role in the overall performance enhancement of small UAVs. This paper focuses on the study of the nearfield aerodynamic effects of a low-power active flow enhancement technique known as dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) in very low speed/low Reynolds number flows most closely associated with small and micro unmanned aerial vehicles. With respect to influence on the 2D nearfield flow on a flat plate equipped with a DBD actuator, factors such as electric field strength, frequency, and excitation waveform of the DBD actuators are investigated and dimensionless terms are developed to better understand aerodynamic flow enhancement in both the x- and y-directions. Estimations are given to predict the efficacy of introduction of a DBD-based flow enhancement system to a representative small UAV.