Control of hypersonic high angle-of-attack re-entry flow using a semi-empirical plasma actuator model

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: José A. Camberos


The aim of this dissertation was to explore the possibility of using flow control to stabilize re-entry flight at very high angle-of-attack. This was carried out in three steps: 1) study the structure of representative high angle-of-attack re-entry flows; 2) develop a semi-empirical plasma actuator model that can be applied to control high angle-of-attack re-entry flows; 3) application of the plasma actuator model to study the control of representative re-entry flows. The calculations include viscous and thermochemical non-equilibrium effects, and a high-fidelity physical model to resolve complex flow structure. The contribution of this dissertation was to provide a detailed description of hypersonic viscous flow around blunt-nosed elliptical cone at very high angle-of-attack. High-fidelity, thermochemical non-equilibrium numerical solutions of high angle-of-attack re-entry flows were not published prior to this research, and thus this research can provide a foundation to calculate, analyze, and describe very high angle-of-attack hypersonic re-entry flows. Paramount to this dissertation was the development of a new phenomenological MHD plasma actuator model. A semi-empirical actuator model was developed by adding source terms to the momentum equation, vibrational energy equation, and total energy equation, employing an exponential decay function based on the formulations of Kalra et al. and Poggie. This new plasma actuator model was extended from Poggie's model to include thermochemical non-equilibrium effects and expanded from Kalra's et al. two-dimensional model to include three-dimensional effects. Development, validation, and calibration of the plasma actuator model was based on a qualitative comparison to the experiment of Kalra et al. on manipulating turbulent shock-wave/bounday layer interaction using plasma actuators. The effect of the plasma actuators on turbulent shock-wave/boundary-layer interaction was simulated numerically and a detailed description of the complex flow structure with and without actuation was provided. Finally, application of the plasma actuators to control the complex flow structure of high angle-of-attack re-entry flight vehicles was investigated. To the best of the author's knowledge, no prior research on high angle-of-attack re-entry vehicle control using plasma actuators has been published. Lastly, this dissertation serves as a foundation to compute, analyze, and control complex flow generated around re-entry vehicles at high angle-of-attack.


Angle of attack (Aerodynamics) Automation Models, Aerodynamics, Hypersonic Automation Models, Actuators Design and construction

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author