Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Huang, Po-Hao

Committee Member/Reader

Nair, Arun


The idea of Ionic Wind Propulsion has long been a topic of research for whether or not it can be used as a practical power source for flight. MIT researchers proved in 2018 that a plane with zero moving parts powered by Ionic Wind Propulsion was possible, and sustained flight could work with an internal power supply. However, due to the thin wire electrodes required to generate the ion cloud that made such propulsion possible, large amounts of drag rendered the plane extremely inefficient and impractical. Dielectric Barrier Discharge Devices (DBDs) are being investigated as to whether they can serve as a more aerodynamically efficient replacement to the wire electrodes, as they can be shaped around the wing, and multiple geometries are being tested in order to find the most efficient one for plasma generation. As physically building and testing the DBDs takes time, COMSOL Multiphysics software was used to simulate the electric field of the DBDs to see if it could serve as a quicker method to test the DBD geometries. The results from COMSOL supported the initial findings from physically testing the DBDs. In addition, multiple geometries of DBDs were tested in order to see which one could generate the strongest electric field, and thus prove more efficient for plasma actuation. These results also showed the relationship between DBD geometry and strength of electric field, providing useful data for how best to design DBDs going forward.


Ionic Wind Propulsion, Dielectric Barrier Discharge Devices, COMSOL, Plasma Generation, Electric Field, Electric Potential