Time evolution of the discharge plasma in the dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuator was simulated by the simple fluid model in which the electron and single positive ion species were considered. The characteristics of the discharge plasma evolution were investigated in detail, and the following results were obtained. When the positive-going voltage is applied, the streamer discharge is formed periodically. The periodically formed streamer expands from the exposed electrode, and its length becomes longer than the previous one. Periodic breakdown of the gas and step-by-step plasma expansion are also observed during the negative-going voltage; however, the streamer is not formed and the breakdown frequency is much higher. The simulation results with a triangular applied voltage waveform show the same characteristics as observed in the experiment; large discharge current spikes are observed during both the positive- and negative-going voltage phase, and the plasma in the negative-going voltage phase expands more smoothly than that in the positive phase because of its higher breakdown frequency. It was shown that even the simple numerical model could provide valuable insights into the physics of DBD plasma actuator; this indicates that the positive ions and electrons play a prominent role in determining the general characteristics of the plasma evolution.

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