This paper proposes a lightweight, energy-efficient airflow control device that uses plasma discharge to realize stratospheric flight. Wind-tunnel experiments were performed in a reduced-pressure environment, and it was noted that plasma can suppress the flow separation around an airfoil, thereby dynamically changing the performance of the airfoil. The results demonstrate that even if the electron mean free path, reduced electric field for the plasma, and the aerodynamic Reynolds number for the stratospheric flight are very different from those at ground level, the plasma is effective in an airflow control device. Moreover, the proposed device operates by simply adhering thin tapes on a ready-made airfoil or hull of the airship and applying voltage to them, which contrasts with the conventionally developed plasma propulsion system. The airflow control technique using plasma will be a key technology in extending human activity to the stratosphere or regions at higher altitudes.
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