Large-eddy simulations have been conducted to investigate the mechanisms of separated-flow control using a dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator at a low Reynolds number. In the present study, the mechanisms are classified according to the means of momentum injection to the boundary layer. The separated flow around the NACA 0015 airfoil at a Reynolds number of 63 000 is used as the base flow for separation control. Both normal and burst mode actuations are adopted in separation control. The burst frequency non-dimensionalized by the freestream velocity and the chord length (F+) is varied from 0.25 to 25, and we discuss the control mechanism through the comparison of the aerodynamic performance and controlled flow-fields in each normal and burst case. Lift and drag coefficients are significantly improved for the cases of F+ = 1, 5, and 15 due to flow reattachment associated with a laminarseparation bubble. Frequency and linear stability analyses indicate that the F+ = 5 and 15 cases effectively excite the natural unstable frequency at the separated shear layer, which is caused by the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. This excitation results in earlier flow reattachment due to earlier turbulent transition. Furthermore, the Reynolds stress decomposition is conducted in order to identify the means of momentum entrainment resulted from large-scale spanwise vortical structure or small-scale turbulent vortices. For the cases with flow reattachment, the large-scale spanwise vortices, which shed from the separated shear layer through plasma actuation, significantly increase the periodic component of the Reynolds stress near the leading edge. These large-scale vortices collapse to small-scale turbulent vortices, and the turbulent component of the Reynolds stress increases around the large-scale vortices. In these cases, although the combination of momentum entrainment by both Reynolds stress components results in flow reattachment, the dominant component is identified as the turbulent component. This indicates that one of the effective control mechanisms for laminar separation is momentum entrainment by turbulent vortices through turbulent transition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics