Near Surface Flow Control and Electrical Power Extraction Using Magnetohydrodynamics

Period of Performance: 08/01/2005 - 05/01/2006


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Cellular Materials International, Inc.
1200 Five Springs Road, Suite 201
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Princeton University
P. O. Box 451
Princeton, NJ 08543
Institution POC


This proposal addresses several concepts for magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) devices which can be used to provide aerodynamic functionality on flight vehicles. The use of ionized gases for such tasks is very appealing because they require no moving parts and because plasmas can be generated and turned on and off quickly in response to transient conditions. The use of high-frequency, high-voltage pulsed discharges to maintain non-equilibrium ionization in low temperature gas will be explored. This pulsed ionization method has been shown by earlier work at Princeton University to minimize both the power budget for sustaining plasmas and the heating of the flow. The proposed concept couples the plasma generation system with a multifunctional cellular core structure and a second working DC circuit. Prototypical and lab-scale examples of these configurations will be manufactured for testing within a wind tunnel to assess the interaction between the plasma, the applied magnetic fields and the flow. The ultimate goal of the development project is to produce a generic configuration for a small MHD device to accomplish a variety of aerodynamic functions, including local flow control and power generation.