Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Sally P. Bane

Committee Chair

Sally P. Bane

Committee Member 1

Gregory A. Blaisdell

Committee Member 2

John P. Sullivan


The government, aerospace, and transportation industries are deeply invested in developing new technologies to improve the performance and maneuverability of current and future aircraft while reducing aerodynamic noise and environmental impact. One of the key pathways to meet these goals is through aerodynamic flow control, which can involve suppressing or inducing separation, transition and management of turbulence in boundary layers, increasing the lift and reducing the drag of airfoils, and gas mixing to control fluctuating forces and aerodynamic noise [1]. In this dissertation, the complex flow field following a spark discharge is studied for a range of geometries and discharge characteristics, and the possibilities for using the induced flow for aerodynamic control are assessed. This work shows the influence of the electrode configuration on the fluid dynamics following the spark discharge and how the hot gas evolution gives rise to various physical phenomena (i.e. generation of turbulence, inducing vorticity, and gas mixing) that can be used to modify the flow-field structure near the boundary layer on an aerodynamic surface.