An experimental study aimed at the characterization of energy deposition of nanosecond Dielectric Barrier Discharge (ns-DBD) plasma actuators was carried out. Special attention was given on the effect of the thickness and material used for dielectric barrier. The selected materials for this study were polyimide film (Kapton), polyamide based nylon (PA2200), and silicone rubber. Schlieren measurements were carried out in quiescent air conditions in order to observe density gradients induced by energy deposited. Size of heated area was used to qualify the energy deposition coupled with electrical power measurements performed using the back-current shunt technique. Additionally, light intensity measurements showed a different nature of discharge based upon the material used for barrier, for a fixed thickness and frequency of discharge. Finally, a characterisation study was performed for the three tested materials. Dielectric constant, volume resistivity, and thermal conductivity were measured. Strong trends between the control parameters and the energy deposited into the fluid during the discharge were observed. Results indicate that efficiency of energy deposition mechanism relative to the thickness of the barrier strongly depends upon the material used for the dielectric barrier itself. In general, a high dielectric strength and a low volumetric resistivity are preferred for a barrier, together with a high heat capacitance and a low thermal conductivity coefficient in order to maximize the efficiency of the thermal energy deposition induced by an ns-DBD plasma actuator.

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