Flat plate drag reduction using plasma-generated streamwise vortices

X. Q. Cheng, C. W. Wong, F. Hussain, W. Schröder, Y. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We present an experimental study of a turbulent boundary layer (TBL) control on a flat plate using plasma actuators. Three different configurations of the actuators produce spanwise arrays of large-scale streamwise vortices (LSSVs). An ultra-high-resolution floating element (FE) force balance, developed in house and calibrated using μ-particle tracking velocimetry, is employed to measure wall friction. The FE captures a drag reduction (DR) of up to 26 % on the FE area (667 × 1333 wall units), downstream of the actuators. The local DR persists downstream, well after the LSSVs disappear. Both plasma-generated flow and the TBL under control are compared with an uncontrolled TBL. The maximum DR takes place when the LSSVs producing wall jets reach a spanwise velocity of 3.9 in wall units. The flow is altered by up to 29 % of the TBL thickness, with a drop in the new vortices due to the control-induced stabilization of the wall streaks. The local friction is characterized by three distinct spatial regions of drag increase, pronounced DR and drag recovery- A ll connected to the LSSVs. The LSSVs push the streaks to the middle between two adjacent actuators, suppressing transient growth and near-wall turbulent production. A DR mechanism is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2021


  • boundary layer control
  • drag reduction
  • turbulent boundary layers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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