A numerical study has been performed to investigate the mechanics of the turbulent wake of a circular cylinder that is controlled by a plasma actuator. The numerical investigation implements a straightforward moving wall boundary condition to model the actuator's effects on the flow. Validations of the moving wall for this simulation are set forth with the understanding that the moving wall can model the plasma actuator bulk flow effects at a distance downstream and not in a region near or on the plasma actuator. The moving wall boundary condition is then applied to a circular cylinder at a Reynolds number of 8,000. At this unsteady transitional flow regime, a large eddy simulation solver is utilized to resolve flow features. The moving walls are placed at the top and bottom ninety degree points of the cylinder and alternately activated at a frequency to produce lock-in behavior. Investigation into the flowfield mechanics reveals that a harmonic frequency of the forced frequency occurs from the creation of sub-vortices from the instantaneous starting and stopping of the moving-wall actuators. With the forcing frequency close to the natural shedding frequency it is found that the aerodynamic drag increases due to the moving wall creating an average low pressure region on to the downstream side of the cylinder. It is also found that drag can be reduced when the forcing frequency is closer to half the natural shedding frequency. This happens because of a decrease in the average pressure on the downstream side of the cylinder.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





large eddy simulation, plasma actuator, dielectric barrier, computational fluid dynamics, turbulence, reynolds number 8000, numerical simulation