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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Development of a Plasma Injector for Supersonic Drag Reduction

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Development of a Plasma Injector for Supersonic Drag Reduction
Methods to reduce the turbulent viscous skin friction stand out as paramount to increasing the energy efficiency, and therefore the aerodynamic efficiency of supersonic aircraft. Eagle Harbor Technology (EHT) proposes to develop and optimize a MHD plasma injector, which will be used to efficiently reduce the viscous skin friction in supersonic aircraft. EHT has developed similar MHD plasma injection technologies, which have been applied to a number of different fusion energy science, aerospace thruster, and basic research investigations. Here, we aim to computationally investigate and verify the dominant physical mechanisms for MHD plasma drag reduction; develop a proof of concept plasma injector demo, which conforms to necessary power and efficiency requirements for an onboard flight-relevant system; and use insights gained through our computational investigations to optimize the performance of our MHD plasma injector for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. This investigation will focus on flight-relevant Reynolds and magnetic Reynolds numbers at low supersonic (M<~3) speeds. Phase II research will couple the plasma injector to a scale model airframe for detailed in-situ supersonic wind tunnel testing. The phase II research will produce a fully realized working plasma injector prototype that conform to power requirements of an on-board power system. More »

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