The patent's inventors are Essenhigh,
This patent was filed on
From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "The present invention relates generally to flow field management. More specifically, the present invention relates to systems, apparatus, program product, and methods for providing boundary layer flow control by the creation of separated flow structures using plasma actuators employing dielectric barrier discharge principles.
"Adverse fluid flows generated over aerodynamic surfaces can buffet and fatigue any downstream structures so exposed. Additionally, such flows can affect efficiency by increasing drag or resistance over the surface. Such adverse fluid flows can be generated at the fore body of an aircraft or other upstream structure, and damage control surfaces, engines, after body or empennage, nacelles, turrets, or other structures integrated into the airframe. Additionally, these adverse fluid flows can be ingested within engine air intakes or other like air inlets leading to poor performance and/or stalling of the aircraft engines.
"In the past, aircraft components were designed to minimize the strength of adverse pressure gradient flaw fields to reduce the extent of or eliminate the separation of boundary layer flow from aircraft surfaces to reduce the destructive structural impact of separated flow on aircraft components and performance. This approach, however, limits design options and increases vehicle size, weight and cost. Alternatively, the components in the path of the adverse fluid flows were structurally hardened or replaced more frequently to avoid failures resulting from these stresses. Placing components, such as engines or control surfaces, in non-optimal positions in order to reduce these stresses often results in reduced vehicle performance. Similarly, adding structural weight to support increased stress loads caused by the flow field vortices also results in reduced vehicle performance.
"One of the most commonly used methods to control local boundary layer separation, albeit within ducted systems, is the placement of vortex generators upstream of the layer separation within a natural fluid flow. Vortex generators are small wing like sections mounted on the inside surface of the ducted fluid flow and inclined at an angle to the fluid flow to generate a shed vortex. The height chosen for the best interaction between the boundary layer and the vortex generator has previously been the boundary layer thickness. The principle of boundary layer control by vortex generation relies on induced mixing between the primary fluid flow and the secondary fluid flow. The mixing is promoted by vortices trailing longitudinally near the edge of the boundary layer. Fluid particles with high momentum in the stream direction are swept along helical paths toward the duct surface to mix with and, to some extent, replace low momentum boundary layer flow. This is a continuous process that provides a source to counter the natural growth of the boundary layer creating adverse pressure gradients and low energy secondary flow accumulation. The devices, however, themselves cause drag which reduces the effectiveness of the devices.
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