Effect of Local DBD Plasma Actuation on Transition in a Laminar Separation Bubble

Serhiy Yarusevych*, Marios Kotsonis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
128 Downloads (Pure)


This work examines the effect of local active flow control on stability and transition in a laminar separation bubble. Experiments are performed in a wind tunnel facility on a NACA 0012 airfoil at a chord Reynolds number of 130 000 and an angle of attack of 2 degrees. Controlled disturbances are introduced upstream of a laminar separation bubble forming on the suction side of the airfoil using a surface-mounted Dielectric Barrier Discharge plasma actuator. Time-resolved two-component Particle Image Velocimetry is used to characterise the flow field. The effect of frequency and amplitude of plasma excitation on flow development is examined. The introduction of artificial harmonic disturbances leads to significant changes in separation bubble topology and the characteristics of coherent structures formed in the aft portion of the bubble. The development of the bubble demonstrates strong dependence on the actuation frequency and amplitude, revealing the dominant role of incoming disturbances in the transition scenario. Statistical, topological and linear stability theory analysis demonstrate that significant mean flow deformation produced by controlled disturbances leads to notable changes in stability characteristics compared to those in the unforced baseline case. The findings provide a new outlook on the role of controlled disturbances in separated shear layer transition and instruct the development of effective flow control strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-216
Number of pages22
JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Airfoil
  • Boundary layer separation
  • DBD plasma actuator
  • Flow control
  • Laminar separation bubble
  • Laminar-to-turbulent transition
  • Separated shear layer


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