The Glow Discharge Plasma Skin

"Firefly" Mk3 - Preliminary test

Advanced Reduced Drag Aircraft
By Jean-Louis Naudin
created on december 18h, 1999 - JLN Labs - Last update January 9th, 2000

The purpose of this preliminary test is to check if a Glow Discharge Plasma Skin is able to generate a thrusting effect. This is a first step towards a design of the full scale GDP Wing profile used in an ARDA Flying wing. In a future design the wing profile will be covered by an uniform cold plasma (OAUGDP) generated by a glow discharge at high voltage and at high frequency. A kind of GDP skin has already been successfully tested at the NASA Langley Research Center by Roth and Wilkinson and a full report has been presented during the 36th Aerospace Sciences Meeting in Reno (January 1998), see Boundary Layer Flow Control with a one Atmosphere Uniform Glow Discharge Surface Plasma. AIAA 98-0328.

One GDP wing setup with streamwise electrodes
Photo with AGFA HDC ISO 200-AP70/C41

I have tested different configurations of the GDP skin to get the best thrusting effect :

- a GDP Skin with streamwise-oriented electrodes,
- a GDP Skin with spanwise-oriented electrodes.

A stroboscope lamp has been used to show at same time the glow discharge skin energized and also the smoke flow while the GDP Skin is activated.

Pictures taken with a simple video camcorder (unfortunately with a low sensibility, this explains the poor quality of the picture)

TEST RESULTS ( 12-18-99 ):

Today the best configuration which gives the best thrusting effect is a GDP Skin with the spanwise electrodes setup.

See the picture below, you may notice that when the plasma is off, the smoke flow goes up slowly and in a straight path. When the plasma is activated (GDP Skin ON), the smoke flow is accelerated (see the videos) and attracted stongly towards the GDP Skin due to the paraelectric forces which are indepedent of the polarity of the field.

These pictures have been turned 90 degrees to right for a better understanding of the main effect on the smoke flow. You see a front and a right view of the GDP Skin in action. You may notice that, when the plasma is activated, the smoke flow gains speed and becomes divergent at the output due to the increase of the speed .

This is only the beginning of a serie of tests. More will come soon with wind tunnel tests and measurements results...

See the videos of the GDP Skin Tests below :

RealVideo of the GDP Skin Test run 2 (62kb)

RealVideo of the GDP Skin Test run3 (44kb)

( if you don't have the RealPlayer 5.0, you may download it freely at :

You may see also :

- The Glow Discharge Plasma Wing : "Firefly" Mk2 ( 12-14-99 )

The ARDA "FairyStar" now ready for tests ( 01-11-2000)

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