Surface discharge plasma actuator driven by a pulsed 13.56 MHz-5 kHz voltage waveform

J. Dedrick, S. Im, M. A. Cappelli, R. W. Boswell, C. Charles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of incorporating pulses of radio-frequency (rf: 13.56 MHz) voltage into the driving waveform of a surface discharge plasma actuator is investigated. Rf voltage is applied to the actuator to increase the production of ions and thereby increase the thrust that is generated by the discharge. This waveform is coupled to the powered electrode in 5 μs pulses and combined with a relatively low-frequency (LF) 5 kHz sinusoid to form a pulsed 13.56 MHz-5 kHz (rf-LF) driving voltage. Measurements of the applied voltage, rf and LF currents, effective power, and velocity field of the surrounding air are undertaken at atmospheric pressure. The thrust that is generated using the rf-LF waveform is estimated from the velocity fields using a momentum balance and is found to increase for increasing rf voltage when the LF voltage remains constant. Maximum thrust is achieved when the rf pulses are positioned at the LF voltage minima and this suggests the importance of negative ions. The efficacy of rf-LF actuation is investigated by comparing the thrust that is generated per unit increase in peak voltage with that obtained using an LF-driven discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number405201
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 9
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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