This paper proposes and investigates the pioneering use of glow discharge (plasma) actuation to suppress short length-scale (spike) rotating stall inception. A single dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuator basically consists of two parallel offset thin electrodes separated by a dielectric material. The application of a high frequency AC voltage across the electrodes results in an induced body force on the flow adjacent to the surface. This simple, robust actuator may provide a practical low-power mean to positively alter the tip clearance flow dynamics responsible for spike stall inception. A computational study is carried out on a low-speed compressor rotor with the implementation of a published plasma actuation model in an established turbomachinery CFD code. The objective is to provide a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of a casing circumferential plasma actuator, with varying actuator location, input voltage and frequency, in suppressing the two flow criteria associated with the formation of spike disturbances leading to stall. Results show that plasma actuation most effectively suppresses both of these flow criteria when placed near the rotor leading edge and delays the predicted stall point to a lower flow coefficient with minimal power input. The simulations also indicate that the effectiveness of the actuation decreases non-linearly with input voltage and frequency. In addition, results indicate that this technology could perhaps be used for suppression of both short and long-length scale stall inception in axial compressors.

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