Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level



Mechanical Engineering


Huang, Po-Hoa Adam

Committee Member/Reader

Majumdar, Neelakshi


The principles of air-breathing ion propulsion are relatively unestablished in the aerodynamic realm as traditional forms of combustion for propulsion systems have remained in use. However, due to increasing environmental, economic, and efficiency concerns of traditional combustion, interests in innovative propulsion methodologies, such as electric propulsion, are emerging. A primary technology of interest for use of ion propulsion is the Dielectric Barrier Discharge Device (DBD). Preliminary research conducted at the University of Arkansas has determined the most favorable DBD geometry. This work will continue the preliminary research to decipher the most favorable DBD configuration by varying dielectric thickness and dielectric material. The methodology utilized to characterize DBDs includes analytical COMSOL Multiphysics simulation of devices coupled with experimental verification. The processes utilized for COMSOL Multiphysics consisted of eight dielectric materials with four varying thicknesses. The procedure for COMSOL simulation is documented within this work. As well as this, the robust data from COMSOL simulations is analyzed using graphical population plot representations and statistical tabulated data values. The results of this study have indicated that an ideal DBD configuration is more dependent on thickness than the value of the dielectric constant. In other words, as the thickness of the dielectric layer within a DBD decreases, the value of the electric field strength increases and stabilizes across all dielectric constant values. This consideration can be utilized to continue this work in terms of mass production of DBD sheets and more experimental testing of varying thickness and dielectric material.


Electric Propulsion, COMSOL, Dielectric Barrier Discharge Device, Ion Propulsion, MATLAB