CU Aerospace and UIUC anticipate several important benefits from the cyclotronic plasma actuator over other technologies. When compared to traditional dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuators, the cyclotronic plasma actuator may add more energy into the plasma to improve actuator authority and improve effectiveness for low-speed and high-speed flows. This technology may also alleviate turbulent separation through 3D mixing mechanisms, similar to passive vortex generators. This mixing mechanism may also improve operational efficiency, or reduce proposed actuator power requirements, as compared to existing technologies. The proposed innovation also provides more benefit than passive devices as control authority can be provided on-demand and it does not produce undesirable parasitic drag during high-speed cruise. Finally, the actuator has no moving parts and does not require the heavy infrastructures and mechanical complexities associated with high-pressure air storage required for most blowing approaches to active flow control.
The cyclotronic plasma actuator also has potential to significantly reduce drag and fuel burn for commercial aircraft through improved control surface effectiveness and high-lift performance, allowing aerodynamic surface weight and size to be reduced. Operational benefits are also anticipated for the efficiency, maneuverability, and stall prevention of military aircraft in high angle of attack operation. Additionally, potential internal flow applications include plasma assisted combustion, flame stabilization, and flow management inside inlet S-ducts.