A compact power supply for dielectric barrier discharge devices

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University of New Brunswick
Plasma generation by dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) devices has recently become a topic of interest for researchers due to the growing number of industrial applications. Some applications of note include: generation of ozone gas for disinfecting and cleaning, aerodynamic flow control over an airfoil, light emission for plasma displays and CO2 lasers, and others. The emergence of these new applications, specifically aerodynamic flow control for aeronautical applications, has created significant need for adaptable, compact and lightweight power supplies. The majority of the required high-voltage and high-frequency AC supplies employed by DBD devices have been based on resonant-type power electronic converters (PEC’s). Nonetheless, resonant PEC’s typically are neither small nor lightweight, which make them less desirable for supplying DBD devices in aeronautical applications. In addition, resonant PEC’s are generally not adaptable as their AC outputs are produced over a narrow frequency range, and their operation requires complicated control schemes. In this work, the size and weight requirements of a DBD device for aeronautical applications will be achieved using multi-stage and multi-level switch mode PEC’s. The multi-stage structure will consist of multiple DC-DC step-up PEC’s supplied from batteries. These DC-DC PEC’s will feed a multi-level DC-AC PEC, which will be operated to produce high voltages over a wide range of high frequencies. The DC-DC and DC-AC PEC’s will be operated using switching signals generated by digital signal processing (DSP) platform in order to ensure high quality AC outputs. Moreover, desired switching signals will be generated to facilitate adjusting the magnitude and the frequency of the output AC voltage. Such adjustments will allow manipulation of the DBD body force and/or the plasma velocity, which alters the thrust and/or the boundary layer separation. This work focuses on the design, construction, performance testing, and optimization of the size and weight of a power supply for a DBD device for aeronautical applications. Modeling and simulation tests have been conducted for various operating conditions. An experimental prototype was constructed for performance evaluation of the multi-stage and multi-level power supply, test results are reported and compared to the predictions.