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Numerical modelling of dielectric barrier discharges for plasma actuators


Reference persons DOMENIC D'AMBROSIO

Research Groups 03-Aerotermodinamica, Magnetofluidodinamica e dinamica dei plasmi


Description Flow Control Technologies have the potential to enhance aerodynamic efficiency, stability, and control. The fundamental concept behind Flow Control Technologies is to bring about a significant change in aerodynamic flow through focused, carefully modulated means, preferably with a minimal amount of energy. Traditional flow control applications encompass bleed in inlets, span-wise flap blowing, bumps, vortex generator devices, and spoilers. However, historically, many of these methods were both costly and complex. Innovations transforming this situation include the miniaturization of sensors and actuators, enhancements in automatic controls, and the introduction of new effectors like synthetic jets, which require no air supply, plasmas, new materials, and device integration.

A promising option involves utilizing ionized gas and electrical fields to generate momentum flux and force changes without moving parts and without altering the outer mold lines of a flight vehicle. This leverages the advantages of electronic/mechanical systems to influence flow control without the weight penalties and complexity associated with these systems. In this context, the development and validation of theoretical models predicting the formation of plasma and its interaction with an aerodynamic flow field are essential.

We propose a thesis where the candidate student should investigate physical models and numerical methods relevant to the simulation of Dielectric Barrier Discharges (DBD), a type of plasma actuator actively studied in the last two decades. The work will draw inspiration from a past PhD thesis and the related simulation code developed some years ago under the supervision of the thesis proponent. Initially, the candidate student will revive the source code written during the PhD, run simulations described in the PhD thesis for verification purposes, and consider the possibility of adding new physical models to the numerical simulation tool or improving the numerical methodology for greater efficiency and accuracy. The candidate will also devise techniques to transfer the forces generated by the plasma actuator and calculated by the numerical simulation tool to a CFD code, replicating the effect of the DBD discharge on an aerodynamic flow field. The topic is sufficiently broad to allow for more than one thesis, and each thesis might be carried out in parallel or sequentially, depending on timing.

Required skills We require that the student has a basic familiarity with programming techniques in any language. While knowledge of Fortran would be a preferable asset, even basic knowledge of C++, Python, Basic, or Matlab is acceptable. We are not seeking an experienced programmer but rather a student with an interest in programming and a willingness to continue doing so in the thesis. Attendance in courses within the Aerogasdynamics path is preferred, but we welcome all students pursuing the Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, provided they are curious, proactive, and eager to learn. Those wishing to apply can write via email to proponent, attaching a CV that includes grades for exams taken thus far. The thesis will have a minimum duration of four months and generally should not exceed six months. It is not required that the students have completed all exams but rather that they have no more than two or three remaining (for example, those of the last semester). The thesis is challenging but certainly manageable for a motivated and capable student.

Deadline 24/01/2025      PROPONI LA TUA CANDIDATURA