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Output feedback control of flow separation over an aerofoil using plasma actuators

Broglia, R.; Choi, K.-S.; Houston, Paul; Pasquale, L.; Zanchetta, Pericle


R. Broglia

Professor of Fluid Mechanics

Professor of Computational and Applied Maths

L. Pasquale


We address the problem of controlling the unsteady flow separation over an aerofoil, using plasma actuators. Despite the complexity of the dynamics of interest, we show how the problem of controlling flow separation can be formulated as a simple set-point tracking problem, so that a simple control strategy may be used. A robust output feedback control is designed, on the basis of a low-order, linear, dynamical model approximating the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, obtained from the snapshots of 2D laminar finite element simulations at Re=1,000. Fast flow reattachment is achieved, along with both stabilisation and increase/reduction of the lift/drag, respectively. Accurate 2D finite element simulations of the full-order nonlinear equations illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach: good dynamic performances are obtained, as both the Reynolds number and the angle of attack are varied. The chosen output can be experimentally measured by appropriate sensors and, despite its simplicity, the proposed set-point tracking controller is sufficient to suppress the laminar separation bubble; moreover, its extension to 3D turbulent configurations is straightforward, thus illustrating the effectiveness of the designed control algorithm in more practical conditions, which are far from the design envelope.


Broglia, R., Choi, K., Houston, P., Pasquale, L., & Zanchetta, P. (2018). Output feedback control of flow separation over an aerofoil using plasma actuators. International Journal of Numerical Analysis and Modeling, 15(6),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 24, 2018
Online Publication Date May 31, 2018
Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2018
Journal International Journal of Numerical Analysis and Modeling
Electronic ISSN 1705-5105
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 6
Keywords Feedback flow control; Robust control; Reduced-order modelling; Plasma actuators; Nonlinear systems
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