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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2009, Article ID 247613, 13 pages
Research Article

Performance Improvement of Axial Compressors and Fans with Plasma Actuation

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, UdM Campus, 2900 Edouard-Montpetit Blvd., 2500 Polytechnique Rd., Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1J4
2Gas Turbine Laboratory, National Research Council Canada, 1200 Montreal Road, M-10, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0R6

Received 9 June 2009; Revised 31 October 2009; Accepted 2 December 2009

Academic Editor: Yasuyuki Yokono

Copyright © 2009 Sebastien Lemire et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper proposes the use of plasma actuator to suppress boundary layer separation on a compressor blade suction side to increase axial compressor performance. Plasma actuators are a new type of electrical flow control device that imparts momentum to the air when submitted to a high AC voltage at high frequency. The concept presented in this paper consists in the positioning of a plasma actuator near the separation point on a compressor rotor suction side to increase flow turning. In this computational study, three parameters have been studied to evaluate the effectiveness of plasma actuator: actuator strength, position and actuation method (steady versus unsteady). Results show that plasma actuator operated in steady mode can increase the pressure ratio, efficiency, and power imparted by the rotor to the air and that the pressure ratio, efficiency and rotor power increase almost linearly with actuator strength. On the other hand, the actuator's position has limited effect on the performance increase. Finally, the results from unsteady simulations show a limited performance increase but are not fully conclusive, due possibly to the chosen pulsing frequencies of the actuator and/or to limitations of the CFD code.