Effect of drag reducing plasma actuators using LES

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The work performed in this thesis explores new ways of reducing the drag of ground vehicles. Specifically, the effect of plasma actuators are investigated numerically with the intention to delay separation around a half-cylinder, a geometry chosen to represent a simplified A-pillar of a truck.The plasma actuators have to be included in turbulent flow simulations. Therefore, emphasis is first put on finding a numerical model that can reproduce the effect of the plasma without increasing the computational cost. This effect is modeled through a body force term added to the Navier-Stokes equations. To determine the strength and spatial extent of this body force, optimization was performed to minimize the difference between experimental and simulated profiles of plasma induced velocity. The plasma actuator model is thereafter used in Large Eddy Simulations (LES) of the flow around a half-cylinder at Reynolds number Re=65'10^3 and Re=32'10^3. Two types of actuation cases are performed. In the first case, a single actuator is used. In the second case, a pair of consecutive actuators are used, and their position on the half-cylinder is changed. It is found that a drag reduction of up to 10% is achievable. Moreover, the ideal location for actuation is determined to be near the separation point of the non-actuated flow. Finally, dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) is investigated as a tool to extract coherent dynamic structures from a turbulent flow field. The DMD is first used to analyze a channel flow where pulsations are imposed at a known frequency. It is found that DMD gives similar results to phase averaging done at the oscillation frequency. However, the presence of turbulence noise hinders the ability to identify modes at higher harmonics. The DMD is also used to post-process the half-cylinder flow case. There, it is found that the spectrum of the wake is broadband. Nevertheless, modes within distinct frequency ranges are found to be located in distinct spatial regions.