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An Investigation of Ionic Wind PropulsionA corona discharge device generates an ionic wind and thrust, when a high voltage corona discharge is struck between sharply pointed electrodes and larger radius ground electrodes. The objective of this study was to examine whether this thrust could be scaled to values of interest for aircraft propulsion. An initial experiment showed that the thrust observed did equal the thrust of the ionic wind. Different types of high voltage electrodes were tried, including wires, knife-edges, and arrays of pins. A pin array was found to be optimum. Parametric experiments, and theory, showed that the thrust per unit power could be raised from early values of 5 N/kW to values approaching 50 N/kW, but only by lowering the thrust produced, and raising the voltage applied. In addition to using DC voltage, pulsed excitation, with and without a DC bias, was examined. The results were inconclusive as to whether this was advantageous. It was concluded that the use of a corona discharge for aircraft propulsion did not seem very practical.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Wilson, Jack
(ASRC Aerospace Corp. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Perkins, Hugh D.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Thompson, William K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 561581.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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