Reducing turbulent convective heat transfer with streamwise plasma vortex generators

Rodrigo Castellanos*, Theodoros Michelis, Stefano Discetti, Andrea Ianiro, Marios Kotsonis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The effect of streamwise plasma vortex generators on the convective heat transfer of a turbulent boundary layer is experimentally investigated. A Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) plasma-actuator array is employed to promote pairs of counter-rotating, streamwise-aligned vortices embedded in a well-behaved turbulent boundary layer over a flat plate. The study aims at elucidating the mechanism of interaction between the plasma-induced vortical structures and the convective heat transfer process downstream of them. The full three-dimensional mean flow field is measured with planar and stereoscopic PIV. The convective heat transfer is assessed with infrared thermography over a heat-flux sensor located downstream of the actuators. The combination of the flow field and heat transfer measurements provides a complete picture of the fluid-dynamic interaction of plasma-induced flow with local turbulent transport effects. The results show that the streamwise vortices are stationary and confined across the spanwise direction due to the action of the plasma discharge. Flow-field measurements show that the opposing plasma discharge causes a mass- and momentum-flux deficit within the boundary layer, leading to a low-velocity region that grows in the streamwise direction and which is characterised by an increase in displacement and momentum thicknesses. This low-velocity ribbon travels downstream, promoting streak-alike patterns of reduction in the convective heat transfer distribution. Near the wall, the plasma-induced jets divert the main flow. This phenomenon is a consequence of the DBD-actuator momentum injection and, thus, the suction caused on the surrounding fluid by the emerging jets. The stationarity of the plasma-induced vortices makes them persistent far downstream, reducing the convective heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110596
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • DBD plasma actuator
  • Heat transfer
  • Streamwise vortex
  • Turbulent boundary layer


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